Search Site
21 Main St, Ste 352 | Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Call For Consultation 551-245-8894

Noncompete Agreements Can Be Challenged in New Jersey

It’s understandable that companies want to keep trade secrets out of the hands of their competitors, which is why many employers require employees to sign noncompete contracts. Employers fear that when an engineer, salesperson, executive or marketer leaves the company to work for a competitor, the new employer will benefit from the new employee’s knowledge of the former employer’s business.

Noncompete contracts, however, can unreasonably restrict employees’ future job opportunities. New Jersey, along with many other states, is now considering legislation that would limit employers’ rights to impose and enforce such agreements. The state makes the argument that such legislation would lower the unemployment rate and reduce requests for unemployment benefits.

The New Jersey Legislature has not yet voted on legislation to curb noncompete agreements, so employees remain vulnerable to the adverse effects of these contracts. The noncompete provisions that employees should be particularly wary of include:

  • Definition of competitor — The noncompete agreement may contain an overly broad definition of the types of companies that constitute competitors. If, for example, the agreement states that any company involved in systems engineering is a competitor, it would be nearly impossible for a systems engineer to take a job that doesn’t violate the contract.
  • Limited job market — For professionals with highly specialized skills, there may be only an extremely limited number of employers that need those skills. Often, those employers are competitors.
  • Geographical reach — The noncompete agreement may contain no geographical limitation or an overly broad one. If the contract bars an employee from jumping to a competitor in the same market area, a court might find the limitation to be reasonable. But if the agreement prevents the employee from working for a similar company anywhere in the United States, a court will be more inclined to find the restriction to be unreasonable.

Noncompete agreements are enforceable only when they protect legitimate employer interests and do not create an unfair hardship on employees. If your employer asks you to sign a noncompete agreement, you should have an attorney review it first. And if your former employer is accusing you of breaching a noncompete contract, you need to mount a strong defense. Speak with an employment law attorney to determine your legal options.


Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
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…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
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…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
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…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
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…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
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.…


Go to the following links for descriptions of selection methodologies for Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review RatingsSuper Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
No aspect of these advertisements has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Contact us

Quick Contact Form