Washington D.C. Non-Compete Agreements Lawyer
Employers are likely to exert some degree of control over our jobs while we work for them, but after we leave their company, they should not continue to restrict our employment. Sometimes a valid and enforceable non-compete agreement will prevent an employee from taking certain positions after departing from their employer. This is a way for employers to shield their valuable proprietary information.
If you are in a position where your rights and freedom as an employee may be compromised, you may want to consult with a Washington D.C. non-compete agreements lawyer. Enforcing the terms of a non-compete agreement is not always straightforward. Working with our knowledgeable employment lawyers at The Spiggle Law Firm could help you understand the complex law on this topic.
Limitations on the Enforceability of These Agreements
Non-compete agreements are enforceable in Washington D.C. with certain limitations. The courts often consider both the interests of the employer and the hardships imposed on the employee when deciding whether to enforce the contract.
Although there is no statute in Washington D.C. that specifically addresses non-compete agreements, there is a relevant statute that prohibits the restriction of trade (D.C. Code § 28-4502). If a non-compete agreement unreasonably restricts trade, it may be unenforceable for violating this law. Non-compete agreements are otherwise typically valid in Washington D.C. provided that the restraint on trade is reasonable and limited to what is necessary to protect the employer’s business interest. The non-compete agreement must also not violate public policy. A seasoned attorney can review your non-compete agreement and see if it is enforceable or not.
Sufficient Consideration to Support a Non-Compete
Consideration is an essential element to every contract. Since a non-compete agreement is a type of contract, there must be sufficient consideration to support the contract, meaning that each party must receive something of value. In Washington D.C., a job offer is generally considered adequate consideration if the non-compete is signed at the beginning of employment.
Reasonable Duration for a Non-Compete Agreement in Washington, D.C.
Every non-compete agreement will likely set the duration of time that the agreement remains in effect. The courts in Washington D.C. have historically considered up to three years as being a reasonable duration. Agreements with durations longer than three years may still be considered reasonable, but this must be determined in court through substantial evidence.
The position and skills of the specific employee may be analyzed carefully by the court. Agreements enforceable against employees whose jobs require less technical skill and access to proprietary information will likely require shorter durations to be considered reasonable.
Geographic Restraints of an Agreement
Non-compete agreements may contain a provision that restricts an employee’s ability to work within a certain distance from the employer. This limits the options a company’s clients have for business within their locale so there is less competition. There is no clearly established standard for determining the reasonableness of a geographic restriction. Depending on the facts, state or nation-wide restrictions may be considered reasonable. A Washington D.C. non-compete agreements lawyer could see if your geographic restraints are reasonable or not.
Impact of Termination on Non-Competes
If an employee is terminated without good cause, this may impact the employer’s ability to enforce the non-compete. Conversely, if an employee is terminated for good cause, the non-compete will likely be upheld. The determination of whether to enforce a non-compete in this situation will depend on the circumstances. The fact that an employee was fired without good cause alone will generally not be enough to invalidate the agreement.
Talking to a Washington D.C. Non-Compete Attorney
Companies may feel that non-compete agreements are necessary to protect their business assets from competitors because employees often have significant knowledge about the inner workings of organizations. However, this agreement may come at an unfair price for you and your future.
A Washington D.C. non-compete agreements lawyer at The Spiggle Law Firm is ready to answer any questions you have about non-compete agreements.