A common situation that any Fairfax non compete agreement lawyer sees is when an employee wants to quit their current job and start up a business in the same industry, in effect creating new competition for their former employer. Most employers wish to avoid this situation where possible, but oftentimes employees may feel they are not sufficiently rewarded or appreciated for their work by their employer, or they simply wish to branch out and try going into business on their own. Whatever the reason, employers often try to preemptively protect themselves against this by having their employees sign a non-compete agreement.
A non-compete agreement typically states that an employee of the company is prohibited from setting up a competing business for a certain amount of time following their separation from the company. Often this restriction will be limited to a specific geographical area. The contract may go even further and prevent the employee from soliciting clients or customers away from the former employer and to the new business, or from poaching other employees away from the company to come work for the new business.
Many employees sign these agreements at the start of their employment, not thinking much of it. However, it is important to know that these contracts are often very onerous and as a consequence, they are legally non-enforceable.
Non-compete agreements are only valid if the Court deems them reasonable. This is a difficult test to pass because they are presumed by default to be unreasonable and unenforceable. Here are the questions the Court will ask when examining a non-compete:
Is the language of the agreement wider than reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the company?
Is the agreement against or contrary to the public interest?
Only if these questions are both false will the Court consider a non-compete enforceable.
For more information about non-competes, contact a Fairfax non compete agreement lawyer at Schleifman Law, PLC. Call (703) 528-1021.