A covenant not to compete typically 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 may 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 know in advance. Even if the employee's interests may be important West Virginia 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 normally hold non-compete clauses to be unreasonable if they involve unusually long periods of time or if they cover a geographic region surrounding Wheeling that is excessively large.
Limitations on non-compete clauses must also be restricted to cover only competitors who are related in a rational way 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?
Before signing anything that may restrict your rights, you may want to hire a Wheeling, West Virginia attorney to review the contract. A lawyer can then negotiate to modify the covenant as needed, or may even draft a new one that is acceptable to both parties When it comes to suing an employee for breach of a non-compete clause, an attorney can give valuable advice. They will also be able to counsel employees who need advice for a covenant they have signed.