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Understanding Non-Compete Agreements with Help from Our Attorneys

J Goldman Law May 7, 2020

It’s increasingly common for employers in New York and throughout the country to require employees to sign noncompete agreements as a condition of employment. But it’s important for job seekers to understand that there are limitations to the restrictions these agreements can place on employees. Generally, noncompetes are designed to protect employers. However, the laws and language of these agreements have historically been wide open to various interpretations.

Guiding You Through Your Noncompete Issue

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Goldman, we help clients review, understand, and negotiate the terms of noncompete agreements and other employment contracts. Furthermore, we help clients protect themselves in legal proceedings that allege violations of noncompete agreements.

As mentioned, the laws pertaining to these types of agreements can be confusing for even the most well-educated and savvy individuals. That is why we take the time to explain the law and how it applies to your specific situation.

Some common noncompete disputes we help our clients address include:

  • An employer attempts to enforce an overly broad geographic restriction. In short, your employer may try to limit employment opportunities with direct competitors in the area, but not throughout the state or the country.

  • The noncompete agreement should be enforceable for a reasonable amount of time. Although a reasonable amount of time can mean different things to different people, our attorneys can help you understand what reasonable means in relation to the law.

  • Generally, a noncompete agreement is signed in exchange for something of value. For example, if you sign the noncompete agreement, you get the job. However, there are situations where your current employer may ask you to sign a noncompete. If you don’t receive anything additional (other than that you get to keep your current job) in exchange for signing the contract, the court may deem the agreement unreasonable.

Alternatives to Noncompete Agreements

In addition to standard noncompete agreements, there are also forfeiture for competition agreements that offer specific conditions to the terms of a noncompete that can protect employers while clearly outlining the responsibilities of the former employee as he or she pursues future employment.

In Morris V. Schroeder Capital Management, the ambiguity of reasonableness is clarified. Essentially, in forfeiture for competition agreement, an employee agrees to the terms of the agreement in exchange for the receipt of benefits or compensation for a set period of time. If the former employee chooses to violate the terms of the noncompete, that individual no longer receives the compensation or benefits.

There are various other nuances to the law and the enforceability of forfeiture for competition contracts. At our firm, our lawyers can help you understand these nuances and review proposed agreements to ensure you are well-protected.

To review other cases pertaining to noncompetes and other restrictive agreements, view BDO Seidman V. Hirschberg and Ticor Title Insurance Co V. Cohen.

Contact Us and Learn More About Noncompete Agreements

To schedule a consultation, call or complete our email contact form. From our office in Midtown Manhattan, we work with clients in employment law matters throughout the New York City metro.