Elzer Law Firm, LLC
Employers are increasingly requiring their employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment.
Non-compete clauses generally involve three major factors: the geographic area where the employee is prohibited from competing; the range of the services, roles, and skills that may not be used for a competitor; and the total duration for the clause to be in effect. To be enforceable, a non-compete clause must protect a legitimate business interest of the employer, such as trade secrets, customer goodwill, and confidential information. A non-compete cannot simply be used to keep employees from leaving, or to stifle competition.
In Pennsylvania, a non-compete must be reasonable as to geographic area and temporal scope. It also must be supported by consideration, meaning the employer must give you something of value in exchange for signing it. The job itself may constitute consideration if the non-compete is signed in connection with accepting the position. Otherwise, something else of value, such as a promotion, pay raise, or cash incentive, must be offered along with the non-compete agreement.
When non-competes are written fairly, they strike an important balance between the employer’s right to protect its interests with the employee's right to work. Unfortunately, too many non-compete agreements heavily favor the employer.
If you are looking for a new job and are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement, you'll need to take some time to evaluate the pros and cons of signing it. Elzer Law Firm, LLC can review your proposed non-compete and advise you on whether to sign it. We can also discuss whether to try to negotiate a more favorable non-compete agreement before you sign anything.
If you already signed a non-compete and are now looking to make a move that may be in violation of that agreement, please contact us for a consultation. Not all non-compete agreements are enforceable. Attorney Christine T. Elzer has experience litigating non-compete cases, and has had courts issue orders against their enforcement.