Posted by Darryl Aarbo — filed in Contract Law
I have had several clients ask me whether or not they could pursue another job opportunity in light of a non-competition clause in their employment contract with their former employer.
The default position of the courts is that non-competition clauses are unenforceable unless the employer can show why it should be enforced.
Generally speaking, in order for a non-competition clause to be enforceable, the employer must establish that the clause protects a legitimate proprietary interest, that the duration and geographical scope of the non-competition clause is reasonable, and that the employer has no reasonable alternative to the non-competition clause.
Non-solicitation clauses, however, are more likely to be enforced by the courts. These types of clauses are much less onerous than non-competition clauses since they only prohibit you from soliciting customers or employees from your former employer as opposed to restricting your ability to work altogether.
If you signed off on an employment contract that contained a non-competition or non-solicitation clause, you should always get legal advice from an employment lawyer. To avoid being sued, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are many post-employment duties that former employees must follow regardless of the wording of the contract or even if there is a contract.
By Anthony Pranata of Aarbo Fuldauer LLP
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