non compete information

non compete information - Introduction Today more employees...

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Introduction Today more employees than ever find a promising career path blocked by an agreement that meant little to them when they signed it. In Ohio and most states, courts enforce agreements by employees not to compete against their former employer. Fortney & Klingshirn provides answers to frequently asked questions about covenants not to compete to help you evaluate your options before you sign one or after you find your chosen career path blocked. These answers are not a substitute for legal advise. To protect your rights fully, you must consult counsel licensed to practice in your state. back to top What is a covenant not to compete? A covenant not to compete is a promise by an employee not to compete with his or her employer for a specified time, in a particular place or in a particular way. A covenant not to compete, which is also known as a non-competition agreement, may be a clause in an employment agreement or a separate contract standing by itself. back to top Are they enforceable? Generally speaking, yes. Courts once did not enforce non competition agreements, viewing them as unlawful restraints on trade. Today, however, courts will enforce non-competition agreements if: the employer proves that it has a legitimate business interest to protect by restricting its employees' right to compete against it; the restriction on the employee's right to compete is no greater than that necessary to protect the employer's business interest; and the covenant not to compete is supported by consideration, meaning that the employee received something in exchange for it. Every case turns on its own facts. Judges who enforce a non-competition agreement must balance the protection of the employer's business interest against the employee's right to earn a living, as well as other factors, such as whether the restrictions will harm the public. back to top What are some examples of an employer's legitimate business interest? An employer has a legitimate interest in preventing an employee from taking advantage of relationships, information or skills acquired as a result of his or her employment. If an employer gives a new employee its customer list, for example, most courts will enforce an agreement that prevents the employee from contacting those customers on behalf of a competing business.
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As another example, an employer can protect its investment in training an employee by preventing the employee from taking the knowledge acquired on the job to compete against the employer.
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  • Fall '10
  • LucyBenham
  • Ohio, employer

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