Columbus Non-Compete Agreement Attorneys
Of all the different employment contracts in Ohio, non-competition or non-compete agreements are some of the most common. A non-compete agreement is a contract between the employee and the employer that prohibits the employee from working for a competitor of the employer for a specific period of time and sometimes in a certain geographic area. These agreements are usually enforceable even if the employee is fired without cause.
Violating a non-compete agreement can have serious consequences for the employee, and these contracts can also greatly restrict their ability to earn a living. If your employer has asked you to sign a non-compete agreement, you should speak to a Columbus non-compete agreement attorney that can protect your rights.
Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements
The courts in Ohio will generally uphold a non-compete agreement if it is determined to be “reasonable”. Courts generally determine non-competes are reasonable and uphold the restrictions in them if:
- The restrictions are only what is necessary to protect the employer’s business interests
- The timeframe for not competing is reasonable, usually within a two-year period
- The restrictions do not cover an overly broad geographic area
- The restrictions do not violate public policy
If a court finds an agreement is unenforceable, likely because the terms are not reasonable, the judge has the authority to make certain changes to the terms in the agreement. This is known as the blue-pencil doctrine. A judge can simply strike out the unreasonable aspects of the agreement and revise them so that they are reasonable, which can help the employee.
Other Non-Compete Laws
All employees, even thosewho do not have a non-compete agreement, still have certain obligations to their employer under the Ohio statutes.
Under the Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act, employees and former employees are not allowed to misappropriate the confidential trade secrets of the employer. Trade secrets can include customer lists, processes, techniques, and anything else that makes the business unique and is imperative to the operation of the business.
Another statute that limits the employee’s ability to compete with an employer or former employer is the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Under this statute, employees are not allowed to disparage goods or services through false statements. For example, an employee cannot make materially negative or false remarks about their former employer, while trying to obtain new customers for a new business.
Our Ohio Employment Attorneys can Help With Your Non-Compete Agreement
If your employer has asked you to sign a non-compete agreement, it is important that you let one of our Columbus non-compete agreement attorneys review it first. At Marshall & Forman, LLC, we will review the agreement to help ensure your rights are protected and that the contract is reasonable. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys and to learn more about how we can help with all aspects of your employment.