You can bet there’s a close – and sometimes contested — balancing of interests going on in any legal matter involving the judicial evaluation of a noncompete agreement.
Indeed, such a balancing is at the core of what a noncompete is all about. We note on our website at the established Dayton business law firm of Gottschlich & Portune that soundly drafted noncompetes work hard at “protecting the company’s mission-critical information and processes, while respecting the rights of employees.”
If that is not a core focus for a noncompete, it is likely to be shot down by a court ruling on its enforceability.
Many companies in Ohio and nationally have learned that the hard way, following a court’s determination that they were too draconian with terms and conditions relating to a worker’s employment with another company. A noncompete can extend geographically – but not often across the world. It can seek to curb employment with a rival – but not forever.
In other words, it must be reasonable and not overreach in its details, which is the judicial measuring stick for gauging a noncompete’s enforceability. It can be tough, but it must be fair. Gottschlich & Portune attorneys help diverse businesses draft noncompetes that courts adjudge as balanced and fairly limited. All parties benefit when that is seen to be the case.
Whether it will be in a currently litigated matter that is receiving some national scrutiny is not yet determined. In that case, Walmart is seeking to have a court bar a former key employee from linking up with Amazon. Walmart contends that her projected employment is barred by the terms she agreed to in a noncompete pact she signed with Walmart.
The court will ultimately determine that, evaluating – as noted above – whether the conditions imposed on the commencement of new employment are reasonably balanced and fair.