Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreement Attorneys
Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Lawyers in Columbus, Ohio
Non-Compete Agreements and Non-Solicitation Agreements – these broad restrictive agreements can mean the difference in you being able to earn a living. Our Non-Compete and Non-Solicitations Attorneys in Columbus, Ohio have significant experience in defending and prosecuting these types of lawsuits and legal claims. In addition, we frequently review non-compete contracts and provide legal analysis and advice given a specific situation. If you have you recently started a new job and been presented with a non-compete agreement or you are thinking about leaving your current job to pursue other opportunities and need to know whether your non-compete agreement will affect your ability to earn a living, the Ohio employment attorneys at Mansell Law are your sources for non-compete and non-solicitation legal advice. Also, if you are currently involved in a non-compete lawsuit or received a cease and desist letter, it is important to contact an attorney right away – time can make all the difference in your case. Our Ohio Non-Compete Attorneys have ample experience with defending against restrictive non-compete agreements and getting you back to work.
Employers frequently require employees to sign non-compete and/or non-solicitation agreements. These agreements limit your ability to compete with your employer or solicit your employer’s customers after your employment ends. If you violate the terms of your non-compete agreement, your employer can file a breach of contract lawsuit against you. If this happens, then not only do you need to defend against the lawsuit, but your employer can also ask the court to order immediate enforcement of your non-compete agreement against you by preventing you from working at your new job (known as a Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction).
While the terms of non-compete agreements can be very restrictive, and while the idea of defending your right to earn a living in court is daunting, we are here to help. Reach out to us for a free consultation today.
Are Non-Compete or Non-Solicitation Agreements Enforceable in Ohio?
These agreements are considered contracts and can be enforceable under certain circumstances. The terms of a non-compete and/or non-solicitation agreement must be reasonable. Courts will only enforce a non-compete agreement to the extent that it is necessary to protect the employer’s “legitimate business interests.” If a court finds that your non-compete agreement is too restrictive, it can reduce, remove, or otherwise edit the agreement’s terms. For example, if your non-compete agreement lasts for five years, but a court finds this time period is too lengthy, it can reduce this restriction to a more appropriate time period.
However, even if the terms of your non-compete agreement are unreasonable, you still face liability for a breach of contract lawsuit from your employer if you violate the agreement’s terms. Courts can reduce the scope of your non-compete such that you can return to work and earn a living, but this process takes time, and your employer can seek an injunction or temporary restraining order preventing you from working elsewhere until the court rules on the terms of your non-compete. Thus, it is important that you address any issues with your Columbus, Ohio Non-Compete Lawyers before they arise.
Can I Challenge the Enforceability of My Non-Compete in Ohio?
Your employer has the burden of proving your non-compete or non-solicitation agreement is enforceable. It must prove that the terms of your agreement: (1) are no greater than necessary to protect its legitimate business interests, (2) do not impose an undue hardship on you, and (3) are not injurious to the public. The first two elements require your employer to show that its interest in protecting its business outweighs your interests in being able to earn a living. Courts consider numerous factors when evaluating whether your employer has met this requirement, including:
- The geographic and time limits placed on the non-compete;
- Whether you were the sole or primary customer contact while you were employed there;
- Whether you possess any confidential information or trade secrets;
- Whether the non-compete agreement seeks to restrain unfair competition or simply ordinary competition;
- Whether the non-compete seeks to stifle your skill and experience level;
- Whether the non-compete restricts your sole means of support; and
- The typical standards for non-compete agreements in your industry.
For more information on these factors and the specific evidence courts use to evaluate each factor, check out our blog post on Ohio Non-Compete Law.
Courts also examine whether the enforcement of your non-compete agreement would be “injurious” to the public (i.e. whether it would cause harm to third parties). For example, if a court enforces a restrictive non-compete against a doctor, this could prevent him or her from offering medical services until the non-compete agreement expires. If fewer doctors are available to the public, this would harm the public’s interest since patient access to medical care would be jeopardized.
Your employer must establish all three elements of the above test to prove your non-compete agreement is reasonable. But remember, even if the court holds that your non-compete agreement is unreasonable, the court also has discretion to edit the terms of your non-compete as it sees fit to reach a reasonable compromise for both parties. While a non-compete agreement has the potential to adversely impact your ability to find a job after your employment ends, your Non-Compete Attorney in Columbus, Ohio will help you understand your rights and responsibilities and defend your right to earn a living. Our lawyers fight aggressively while still taking the most cost-effective approach for our clients.