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NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS

As you start a new job, be alert to non-compete restrictions that your new employer may wish to impose upon you.  Increasingly, employers seem to require their new employees to sign Non-Compete Agreements restraining where they may work if they leave the job.  The idea is to incentivize employees to stay in this job because leaving may mean that they are not allowed to work in their preferred industry for a period of time.  Depending on the type of employer and your specific job, you may be restrained for working in your industry anywhere in the United States for a period of one or two years.  While our courts do not favor non-competes, they will enforce them where they are reasonable in the time period and geography of the restraints. As you think about leaving a job, consider all of the different documents that you have signed when you started the job or during the course of your employment.  You may not realize that "hidden" non-compete's exist in a variety of contexts.  You want to make sure that you are in compliance but also able to earn a living in your chosen profession.  There are a variety of factors that will go into analyzing whether a court will enforce the non-compete as a whole or a particular provision within it.  Examining the circumstances of your employment together with those surrounding the execution of the actual restrictive covenant may reveal unenforceable provisions that allow you to move on to your next job without restriction.

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