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New Jersey Noncompete Lawyers Advise on Noncompete Agreements and Restrictive Covenants

Balancing employers’ legitimate interests with an employee’s freedom to seek work

When employees sign restrictive covenants, also called noncompete agreements, they agree not to work for competitors, usually within a specific geographic area, for a specific period. Many employers require noncompetes when they hire an employee or promote a worker to a certain level. After purchasing a business, a new employer may ask retained employees to sign as a requirement of continued employment. The goal of the noncompete agreement is to protect a business owner’s investment. However, these agreements restrict an employee’s ability to leverage talent and experience for greater compensation and to find future employment with another company. As one of New Jersey’s largest plaintiffs employment law firms, Deutsch Atkins, P.C. frequently advises clients in New York and New Jersey on matters pertaining to noncompete agreements.

When is a noncompete agreement valid and enforceable?

While many businesses choose not to enforce noncompete agreements, they do have a legal right to do so. To be enforceable, a noncompete agreement must:

  • Protect the legitimate interests of the employer
  • Not impose undue hardship on the employee
  • Not be injurious to the public

Courts decide if a noncompete agreement is reasonable and thus enforceable. Generally, discouraging competition alone is not sufficient reason to uphold a noncompete, since this prevents the public from benefiting from healthy corporate competition. Protecting trade secrets, confidential information and customer relationships are legitimate interests of the employer. When considering hardship on the employee, the courts review the scope of the geographic area, the subject matter and the duration of the agreement. Whether the employee quit or was terminated can also influence the court. Determining if the noncompete is injurious to the public can require extensive investigation to determine if the noncompete could affect the availability of goods or services and corporate R&D (research and development) investments, for example.

If an employee violates a noncompete agreement, the former employer can seek an injunction and damages. Either of these remedies could be financially disastrous for the former employee. Deutsch Atkins attorneys assist senior-level executives negotiating noncompete agreements as part of their employment contracts, and defends former employees accused of breaching their noncompetes.

Safeguard your right to work! Call Deutsch Atkins, P.C. today

The employment litigation lawyers at Deutsch Atkins, P.C. advise senior-level executives on noncompete agreements and vigorously defend against claims of breach. For a consultation with a noncompete agreement lawyer at Deutsch Atkins, P.C., call 551.245.8894 or contact us online.