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Halifax Requires Employees to Sign Non-Compete Agreements

After purchasing 16 newspapers in 2011, the Halifax Media Group asked their new employees to sign an agreement preventing them from working for other media companies in other cities with Halifax properties for two years if they left the company.

This sort of agreement is called a “non-compete agreement,” or “restrictive covenant.” These agreements prevent former employees from going and working for competitors, limiting the chances that the employee will share trade secrets or other inside information with the competing company.

If an employee violates a non-compete clause, he or she can be subject to monetary fines or other penalties.  Non-compete clauses can make it quite difficult for employees to find a future job or even become self-employed. However, they usually have no choice but to sign the agreement. The employer has all the power.

Some states, for the reasons stated above, highly restrict non-compete clauses and some states—like California—don’t allow non-compete clauses at all. Non-compete causes differ throughout the various states. Some principles that are common in most states, though, include:

  • Reasonableness rule: The clause must be reasonable to be considered valid.
  • Duration: The duration of the non-compete agreement must be limited—usually a period of one or two years.
  • Distance: The geographic limits should also be reasonable.
  • Blue Pencil Rule: Courts have the authority to modify a non-compete contract if they find it too restrictive.

Before you sign a document containing a restrictive covenant, you should consult with an attorney who has knowledge and experience in this area.  The lawyers of Deutsch Atkins, P.C. are experienced employment litigation attorneys who can provide the advice you need regarding non-compete agreements.

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Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey's premiere practitioners of employment and civil litigation. Mr. Atkins has also been included in the Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers* in Employment Litigation since 2005. Mr. Atkins believes employees have rights that should be aggressively pursued when an employer has wrongfully dealt…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
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About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

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Robert J. Pantina
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About Robert J. Pantina joined the firm in 2018. Mr. Pantina received his B.A. from Rider University in 2008. He received his J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2017. While in law school, Mr. Pantina interned for the Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court of…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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