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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 & Kleinfeldt, 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

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 his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation 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 his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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