What is a Non-Compete Clause?
The purpose of a non-compete clause or agreement is to prevent an employee from working for a similar business or soliciting the employer’s clients after termination of the employment.
Does Ohio Enforce Non-Compete Agreements?
Yes. Employees must be extremely careful when signing a non-compete agreement because reasonable non-compete agreements are enforceable in Ohio. Even if the non-compete agreement you signed is deemed unreasonable by the court, generally courts will not void the agreement altogether. Instead, they will change the parameters so it can be reasonably enforced.
What Is Reasonable?
A covenant restraining an employee from competing with his former employer upon termination of employment is reasonable if it is:
- no greater than is required for the protection of the employer;
- does not impose undue hardship on the employee; and
- is not injurious to the public.
What Does the Court Consider in Determining Whether an Agreement is Reasonable?
The court considers several factors in evaluating whether the non-compete agreement is reasonable, which include:
- the absence or presence of limitations as to time and space;
- whether the employee represents the sole contact with the customer;
- whether the employee is possessed with confidential information or trade secrets;
- whether the covenant seeks to eliminate competition which would be unfair to the employer or merely seeks to eliminate ordinary competition;
- whether the covenant seeks to stifle the inherent skill and experience of the employee;
- whether the benefit to the employer is disproportional to the detriment to the employee;
- whether the covenant operates as a bar to the employee’s sole means of support;
- whether the employee’s talent which the employer seeks to suppress was actually developed during the period of employment; and
- whether the forbidden employment is merely incidental to the main employment.
What Do You Do?
Do not take this complex concept for granted.
- If you have signed a non-compete agreement and are considering terminating your employment, please contact an experienced attorney to inform you of your obligations and your options moving forward.
- If you are considering a non-compete agreement with a new employer, please contact an experienced attorney to inform you of your rights and assist you in negotiating the terms of your agreement.
The Attorneys at Soroka & Associates LLC have successfully litigated numerous actions involving non-competition and non-solicitation disputes. Contact us today at 614-358-6525 to learn how we can help you with the non-compete issue you are facing.