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Drafting a Strong Non-Compete Clause in Connecticut

 Posted on March 27, 2024 in Business Law

CT employment lawyerMany employers who do not seek the advice of an attorney when drafting their non-compete clauses for employees inadvertently write clauses that cannot be enforced later. Non-compete clauses must meet certain legal requirements, or they may be deemed impracticable or unconscionable. Courts are unlikely to enforce non-compete clauses that do not give former employees a reasonable opportunity to find work after leaving a company. If you plan to have your employees sign a non-compete clause as a condition of employment, it is important to have a Greenwich, CT, employment law attorney draft the clause to ensure future enforceability.

Requirements of a Non-Compete Clause in Connecticut

A non-compete clause generally cannot be so restrictive that your employees will have no choice but to continue working for you or leave their field entirely unless they relocate a substantial distance. The purpose of a non-compete agreement should be to prevent an employee from using skills you taught them to benefit a direct competitor.

Non-compete agreements must be reasonable as to the contract’s:

  • Duration - These clauses should only last a few years after an employee leaves your company. A lifetime ban on working for any competitor would not likely be enforced. 
  • Geographic area - Barring your employee from working for another company in your industry anywhere in the country would likely be considered unreasonable. The area of enforceability should include only areas where your direct competitors can be found. 
  • Employees’ livelihoods - Clauses should not cause employees to lose their livelihoods or bar them from working in their fields entirely if they leave your company. For example, a clause stating that an employee cannot work in sales generally after leaving would probably be unreasonable. Limiting the clause to say that an employee cannot work in specifically flooring sales may be more reasonable. 
  • Fairness to employer - The level of protection for you should be reasonable and justified. Contracts should not be more restrictive than necessary to help you protect your trade secrets and special aspects of your business. 
  • Public interest - An example of a clause that goes against public interest might be one preventing a pediatrician from working in an area that does not have enough pediatricians to meet the needs of the community. It is in the public’s interest to have sufficient essential workers. 

An attorney can help you ensure that the reasonability test is likely to be met by your non-compete clause. 

Contact a Metro New York Area Employment Law Attorney

Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC is committed to helping business leaders protect their companies’ trade secrets and special practices. Our experienced Greenwich, CT employment law attorneys are highly active in both local and national leadership and have the set of skills needed to guard employers. Contact us at 203-661-6000 for a complimentary consultation. 

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