Generally speaking, in New York, a covenant not to compete means that the employee will agree not to work for any of their employer's competitors upon leaving the company. Such agreements are also known by the term "non-compete clauses". Signing such an agreement may either be a condition for being employed, or the employee may receive additional compensation for doing so.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Whether a given judge will enforce a non-compete agreement is difficult to know in advance. Even if the employee's interests may be important New York courts will certainly assign great weight to a person's freedom to choose the type of employment that is suitable for them. Accordingly, only those covenants which are deemed to be reasonable will be upheld by the court. Some agreements that courts have considered to be unreasonable include terms that last for an unusually long period of time or that cover a geographic around Chemung County that is unreasonably broad.
Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are rationally related to the employer's industry. Finally, the covenant not to compete must have a legitimate business purpose which is behind the employer's motivation for requiring the agreement.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
Since covenants could restrict your rights, you may wish to hire a Chemung County, New York lawyer to review any agreements. They will be able to negotiate further changes to the covenant, and can draft an entirely new one that is acceptable to all parties if needed. An attorney can also give valuable advice when it comes to suing employees for breaching covenants, or counseling employees who have signed one about whether they can accept a different job.