A covenant not to compete generally implies that a West Virginia 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". An employee who signs a covenant not to compete can receive compensation for the agreement, or in some cases the agreement is a condition for their being hired.

When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?

Whether a given judge will enforce a non-compete agreement is difficult to discern in advance. While employer's interest are important, the courts of West Virginia 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 usually hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Fairmont that is excessively large.

Covenants must also be limited to restricting dealings with those competitors that are reasonably related to the employer?s industry. 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 Fairmont, West Virginia 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.