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 or not a judge will conclude that the covenant is enforceable can be difficult to know beforehand. Although the interests of employers are important, courts in New York also give priority to an employee's freedom to choose the type of employment that they desire. As a result, courts usually uphold only those covenants that are consider to be reasonable according to the circumstances. Those provisions that courts have seen to be unreasonable include those that last for an prolonged period of time or cover geographic areas around Rochester that are unreasonably large.
The agreements must also deal only with those competitors whose line of employment is rationally related to the previous employer's. Lastly, there must be a legitimate business interest which motivates the employer's mandating a covenant not to compete.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
Before signing anything that may restrict your rights, you may want to hire a Rochester, New York attorney to review the contract. A lawyer can then negotiate to modify the covenant as needed, or may even draft a new one that is acceptable to both parties When it comes to suing an employee for breach of a non-compete clause, an attorney can give valuable advice. They will also be able to counsel employees who need advice for a covenant they have signed.