In Pennsylvania, a covenant not to compete typically 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 can either receive compensation or simply be required to agree as a condition for their employment.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Whether or not a judge will conclude that the covenant is enforceable can be challenging to know beforehand. While employer's interest are important, the courts of Pennsylvania 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 normally hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding New Castle that is excessively large.
Non-compete clauses are also limited in that they may only apply to competitors who are rationally related to the industry of the employer. Finally, there must be a valid 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 might want to hire a New Castle, Pennsylvania lawyer to review the covenant before signing any provisions 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. When it comes to suing an employee for breach of a non-compete clause, an attorney can provide valuable advice. They will also be able to counsel employees who need advice for a covenant they have signed.