Find the Right Non-Compete Attorneys

Employment contracts sometimes contain a provision known as a "covenant not to compete." These agreements state that, for a specified period of time after leaving the company, a former employee is not allowed to work in the same industry with a competing business. Basically, it's meant to make it more difficult for companies to "steal" skilled employees from their competitors.

LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor, , Attorney at Law

Finding the Right Non-Compete Attorney

However, the right of a business to freely enter into contracts, and to protect its interests, has to be balanced against the right of an employee to earn a living, the general public interest in employee mobility, and open competition between employers to attract the best employees which should, in theory, improve working conditions and salaries for all employees.

Keeping that in mind, non-compete covenants are generally allowed, but there are certain restrictions on how far they can go. If those non-compete restrictions go too far, the contract might be deemed unenforceable by a court. Read more

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The terms in a covenant not to compete (also known as a non-compete covenant) must be calculated to protect the reasonable interests of the employer, without putting unreasonable restrictions on the mobility of the employee.

Generally, this means that a non-compete covenant has to have an expiration date built into it, and it cannot be unreasonably far into the future. Generally, 5 years is the outside limit. However, this depends on the industry. In the high-tech field, courts have found a non-compete covenant lasting even one year to be unreasonably long.

Furthermore, the non-compete covenant cannot apply across the entire world. It must be confined to a reasonable geographic area. Again, what constitutes a "reasonable" geographic area will vary based on industry and region. However, trying to apply the covenant to the whole world would be unreasonable. Usually, it can only apply in the same geographic region as the company.

If you are an employee faced with an agreement with a non-compete covenant, or are already bound by one and have a job offer from another company, or if you're an employer and want to explore your options in this area, you should not hesitate to speak with an employment lawyer who handles non-compete covenants.


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