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. Even though the interests of an employer are significant, 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. Those agreements that courts have seen to be unreasonable include those that last for an prolonged period of time or cover geographic areas around North East that are unreasonably 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 North East, 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. Attorneys can provide valuable counseling to employers who are contemplating suing an employer who breached a covenant not to compete. They can also assist employees who have signed an agreement limiting their employment options.