If you entered into a non-compete agreement in Pennsylvania, know that PA courts often do enforce such contracts. If you should stop working for your employer for almost any reason, you cannot go to work for a competing firm within a specified geographic vicinity.
Fortunately, there may be options to void the agreement. The National Law Review explains a few of these loopholes.
All employees must sign non-compete agreements
A strong defense against non-compete violations is to demonstrate that your employer asked all its employees — from entry-level to key players — to sign non-compete contracts. Your employer must have created each contract with careful consideration for how an employee’s termination would affect the company’s business interests. A “one-size-fits-all” approach demonstrates a lack of careful consideration and may render some or all of the employer’s non-competes invalid.
The restricted period is too long
The restricted period of a non-compete clause should only be as long as necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests. Though the length of a reasonable restrictive period may vary, most courts will not enforce a contract that lasts more than two to three years.
The restricted territory is too broad
Generally, courts will uphold restrictive covenants only when the geographic limitations encompass the area in which the employer conducts business. When the limitation exceeds this area, the courts may render the noncompete invalid.
The contract demonstrates a lack of legal consideration
Finally, for any contract to be valid, it must demonstrate legal consideration for both parties, meaning it must provide the employee with something of value that he or she could not obtain elsewhere. If a contract does not show legal consideration, the courts may deem it unenforceable.
Though Pennsylvania does enforce non-compete agreements, there are ways around them. Before you give up on your career aspirations, carefully consider your options.