Generally speaking, in Oklahoma, 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?
Knowing in advance whether a judge will enforce an employee's non-compete clause can be difficult. Although the interests of employers are important, courts in Oklahoma 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 Guthrie 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?
You may want to hire a Guthrie, Oklahoma lawyer to review the covenant before signing any agreements that may limit or restrict your rights. The lawyer will then be able to negotiate any modifications to the contract as needed, or they can even draft a new one should it be required by one or both parties. 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.