In Pennsylvania, a covenant not to compete generally requires that, upon leaving the company, an employee agrees not to be employed by their employer's competitors. A covenant not to compete may also be called a "non-compete clause". Employees who sign them may either receive compensation or simply be required to agree as a condition for their employment.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Foreseeing whether or not a judge will uphold a covenant not to compete is generally difficult. Even though the interests of an employer are important, Pennsylvania courts value a person's freedom to select the type of employment that they desire. Thus, courts will typically uphold only those covenants not to compete that they conclude to be reasonable. Terms contained in a covenant not to compete will be struck down by a court as unreasonable if they bind the employee for an excessively long period of time or if they cover an unreasonably large geographic area around Erie.
Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are rationally related to the employer?s industry. Lastly, the employer needs to have an acceptable business interest which justifies their motives in requiring their employee to sign a covenant not to compete.
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 Erie, Pennsylvania 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. A lawyer can also render useful advice for employers who are considering suing an employee for breach of covenant, or they can counsel employees who have signed such an agreement.