Legal Consultation Helps Clarify Non-Compete Agreement Limits

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) October 30, 2014 — Non-compete agreements are not always well-received in court. If a non-compete agreement is thrown out, a person may not have to comply with it.

“Non-compete agreements are quite popular with employers, but a person bound by one may not have to comply with it. Most non-compete agreements state that an employee may not compete with an employer’s business for a designated time period after leaving the job, They may restrict who you work for, where your future job may be located and even the industry in which you work. Sometimes, it’s hard to find a job under the sanction of all those restrictions,” said Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer.

Typically, an employee is offered a non-compete agreement to sign before beginning work with a company. The wise employee will not sign it without consulting with experienced legal counsel. Each agreement is unique to the particular individual about to be hired, and accepting anything without first understanding the scope of the agreement is asking for trouble. Non-compete agreements are contracts. Signing one without discussing the contents with an attorney may cause unforeseen issues later.

Non-compete agreements must specify a end date, after which someone may work for the competition. A “reasonable” length of time is not the same in every state, but as a guideline, it may not last more than two or three years before becoming unenforceable.

Generally, any geographic restrictions must only apply to areas where the employer conducts business. However, the details depend on the state. Some agreements ban a former employee from working where he or she performed the job. As a result, a former employee may be banned from working in one county but free to work in another. The wording of any agreement with geographic restrictions should be vetted and interpreted by an employment lawyer.

If a worker agrees not to seek a job with the competition, the employer must provide that individual with something of value in exchange for meeting that restriction. “A company might pay the worker additional wages. Compensation varies from state to state, and some states feel that offering a job is valuable enough in itself for such an agreement,” added Coffey.

Other cases may have distinctions that make such agreements unenforceable. If a signed agreement forced someone out of a profession and a job, then banned them from using acquired skills, a court would be unlikely to enforce it.

Learn more at http://www.employmentlawcounsel.com/

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