Non-compete agreements, also known as “non-competes,” are commonly signed employment contracts in Ohio and most other states. This legally binding agreement is signed between employers and employees in an attempt to protect a company’s goodwill and trade secrets. Non-competes can impose serious limitations on employees’ ability to run a business and earn a living, while violations of these agreements are associated with consequences.
At Duwel Law, we represent both employers and employees in disputes and litigation arising from non-compete agreements in Dayton, Ohio, and surrounding counties of Montgomery, Warren, Darke, Miami, and Greene. If you need assistance with drafting an enforceable non-compete, you have been asked to sign the agreement by a prospective employer, or you have a dispute with your employer/employee regarding the provisions of the agreement, consider contacting our attorneys.
Non-compete agreements are restrictive covenants commonly used by employers to prevent employees from working for competitors and limit an employees’ freedom to open and run a similar business. The agreement is effective for a specified time, even after the employment relationship between the employer and employee ends.
A non-compete agreement is usually one of the many contracts an employee is asked to sign by a prospective employer before getting hired.
Ohio is one of the many states that recognize and enforce valid non-compete agreements between employers and employees. However, an agreement must be “reasonable” to be enforceable in the state of Ohio. The reasonableness of a non-compete agreement is based on the following three elements:
The agreement is not greater than is necessary for the protection of the employer’s legitimate interest
Signing the agreement does not impose an undue hardship on the employee
The contract does not harm the public in any way
Ohio courts consider a number of factors when determining whether or not a non-compete agreement is reasonable. These factors include:
The amount of time for the non-compete clause (how long the contract will prohibit the employee from engaging in a business that competes with the employer’s business);
The geographic limitation of the contract
Whether the agreement was created in an attempt to eliminate ordinary competition
Whether enforcing the non-compete clause imposes an undue hardship on the employee
Whether you are an employee or employer, you must consult with our skilled attorneys to determine if the agreement meets the “reasonable” standard before enforcing or signing it.
In the vast majority of disputes arising from violations of non-compete clauses, employers seek an injunction as a relief, especially if there were no monetary damages or the employer cannot prove them. For example, an employer may request an injunction that requires the employee to leave the business that competes with the employer’s business.
When employers can prove monetary damages, it is possible to seek damages for the breach of the contract. Monetary damages are divided into compensatory and punitive damages. The former is meant to compensate the employer for the profits lost because of the employee’s violation of the non-compete clause. Punitive damages, on the other hand, punish the employee for the outrageous conduct.
However, proving the loss of profits as a direct result of an employee’s breach of contract is often challenging.
At Duwel Law, our non-compete agreement attorneys in Dayton, Ohio, also protect the interests of employees who are asked to sign or comply with non-compete agreements. An employer may try to get a worker to sign a non-compete agreement even when the worker is not actually an employee. When a non-compete agreement is not enforceable, the employee may be able to get out from under its restrictions.
Each non-compete agreement is different, which is why you must seek legal counsel from our experienced attorneys for a thorough review of your specific circumstances and help you understand your contractual obligations. Our attorneys are prepared to protect your rights and interests if you have a dispute with an employer or believe that the non-compete agreement is not enforceable.
Non-compete agreements are often difficult to navigate without the assistance of our skilled attorneys. If you are dealing with legal issues or disputes arising from a non-compete agreement, contact our attorneys at Duwel Law. We serve employers and employees in Dayton, Ohio, and surrounding counties, including Montgomery, Warren, Darke, Miami, and Greene. Get a case review with our attorneys to understand your legal obligations and possible remedies.