Prince George’s County Non-Compete Agreements Lawyer
If a current or former employer required you to sign a non-compete agreement, you may be unsure whether it is valid or can be used against you. A court is likely to enforce non-compete agreements that are well-written and not overly restrictive. Other agreements may be partially enforceable and some may be so restrictive that they may not be enforceable at all.
If you have questions about the scope and enforceability of your agreement, consider contacting a skilled Prince George’s County non-compete agreements lawyer at The Spiggle Law Firm. It can be very beneficial to have a compassionate employment attorney on your side now rather than wait to learn whether a former employer will sue to enforce an agreement.
The Basic Parts of a Non-Compete Agreement
As a Prince George’s County non-compete agreements lawyer could explain, a non-compete agreement is an agreement between an employee and their employer that restricts the employee’s right to engage in certain activities during and/or after the employment relationship ends. Although courts may uphold these agreements, they must satisfy several criteria under Maryland law.
A non-compete agreement must be supported by “adequate consideration” and be “ancillary” to the employment relationship. Ancillary means that the agreement is important to achieving the goals of the employment. Adequate consideration means the employee received something of value in exchange for their promise to abide by the non-compete agreement.
The agreement must also be limited in scope (time and place) in ways that are reasonably necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests. Finally, the non-compete agreement cannot impose an undue hardship on the employee, preventing them from securing future employment, and must adhere to public policy.
When Prince George’s County Agreements Are Enforceable
Non-compete agreements are only enforceable when they are reasonable and necessary to protect legitimate business interests of the employer. In Prince George’s County, there are two general types of employer interests that can justify a valid non-compete agreement.
The first of these is unfair competition from an employee. Unfair competition includes the use of trade secrets such as recipes, client lists, customer routes, formulas, and other things that a business considers proprietary. The second type of protectable business interest is when an employee provided unique services to the employer.
This may be a valid restriction when a company hires someone because of their unique reputation and/or job qualifications. In that case, the employer may reasonably restrict future employment of that employee as long as the restrictions are fair and reasonable.
Enforcing the Scope of the Non-Compete Agreement
In addition to protecting a legitimate business interest, however, a non-compete agreement must also be limited in its scope in a way that does not impose an undue hardship on an employee. To be enforceable, a company’s non-compete agreement cannot make it overly difficult for an employee to continue their career after they have moved on. One consideration is the geographic area covered. A geographic restriction is more likely to be valid if there is a connection between the area covered and some tangible business interest of the employer.
Time limits must also be reasonable and be related to the company’s business interests. A restriction of six months to a year following separation may be reasonable in some situations but one that extends for several years may not be.
Getting Help from a Prince George’s County Non-Compete Agreements Attorney
Before you sign a non-compete agreement, you may benefit from legal advice. Even if you have already signed, there may be ways that our lawyers can help you understand your rights and obligations. At the very least, you should be able to understand the scope and enforceability of your agreement.
By reviewing your contract, a skilled Prince George’s County non-compete agreements lawyer can identify the strengths of your position and advise you about what actions you might be able take. Protect your personal and professional interests now and in the future whether you are a federal contractor or private employee. For more information, contact The Spiggle Law Firm here.