Generally speaking, in Ohio, 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". Compensation may be paid for employees who sign the covenant, or at times the employment may be conditioned upon such an agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Whether a given judge will enforce a non-compete agreement is difficult to know in advance. While employer's interest are significant, the courts of Ohio also put a high level of importance on a person's ability to pursue their desired employment opportunities. Consequently, a court will generally only uphold non-compete clauses which under the circumstances are considered to be reasonable. A court will usually hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Cuyahoga County that is excessively large.
Covenants not to compete are also required to deal only with competitors who are rationally related to the employer's line of 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?
Before you sign any documents that could restrict your rights, you may consider hiring a Cuyahoga County, Ohio attorney who can review the covenant. The attorney can negotiate modifications to the contract if they are needed, and can draft a new clause which is acceptable to the parties involved. 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.