In today’s economy, employees are highly mobile and most employees do not want this mobility to be disturbed by courts under non-compete agreements. Most employers want to protect their business and investment against unfair competition. The Courts in Ohio have to balance between the competing interests of employers and employees.
Generally, a non-compete agreement is a contract between an employer and employee where the employee agrees no to compete with the employer after the employment ends. Ohio courts consider non-compete agreements to be valid and enforceable to protect employer’s economic interests as long as the non-compete agreement is reasonable. In general a non-compete is reasonable as long as the restriction
- is not greater than what is required to protect a legitimate interest of the employer;
- it does not impose an undue hardship on the employee; and,
- it is not injurious to the public.
In determining the reasonableness of a non-compete agreement, the courts look at many factors including the length of time and the scope of the restriction, the contact between the employee and customers of the business, whether the employee developed his skills during the employment, and whether an employee had access to confidential information or trade secrets of employer during his employment.
Non-compete can be executed at the beginning of an employment or during the employment as long as there is sufficient consideration for requiring that existing employees execute a non-compete. In some cases, continued employment might be sufficient consideration.
The courts in Ohio have the right to strike down a broad non-compete agreement, so careful drafting of a non-compete agreement is recommended. There are many considerations to be given in drafting an agreement. Careful consideration must be given to the language of a non-compete agreement.
The within statements are general in nature and this information is not intended as a substitute for legal advice regarding your specific case, nor is an attorney-client relationship established between Mina Nami Khorrami, LLC and any person reading this information. Mina Nami Khorrami is an experienced bankruptcy and debt attorney based in Columbus, Ohio.