A covenant not to compete usually implies that a Washington employee makes an agreement not to work for any of their employer's competitors should they leave the company for any reason. These covenants are typically called "non-compete clauses". 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?
It is difficult to discern whether a judge will enforce a given non-compete agreement. Even if the employee's interests may be important Washington courts will certainly assign great weight to a person's freedom to choose the type of employment that is suitable for them. Accordingly, only those covenants which are deemed to be reasonable will be upheld by the court. A court will typically hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Kent that is excessively large.
Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are rationally related to the employer?s industry. Finally, an employer is required to have a valid business reason in its motivation for imposing a covenant not to compete on an employee.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
A Kent, Washington lawyer can help you review the covenant before you sign any provisions that might limit your rights. The lawyer can assist you in negotiating modifications or if needed, they can possibly draft a new agreement which will be acceptable to both parties. Employers can receive useful advice from an attorney should they decide to sue a worker for breaching a covenant, and employees who have signed such covenants can also benefit from a lawyer's counseling.