New Jersey Non-Compete Agreement Lawyer
Has an employer asked you to sign a non-compete agreement, either as part of your employment contract or to receive severance pay when you leave? You need to think carefully before signing on the dotted line. Non-compete agreements can restrict your ability to pursue future employment opportunities and may subject you to lawsuits from your former employer.
An experienced New Jersey non-compete agreement lawyer can advise you if you are presented with a non-compete agreement. At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we can also represent you if there is litigation over an existing non-compete agreement. We can help ensure that such agreements are not unfairly enforced against you.
New Jersey Non-Compete Agreements Must Be Reasonable in Scope and Duration
New Jersey does not have any specific statewide laws governing the use of non-compete agreements by employers. But that does not mean all non-compete agreements are enforceable. The law generally disfavors restraints on trade, which include the ability of workers to freely accept employment. So New Jersey courts will only enforce a restrictive covenant such as a non-compete agreement if it is “reasonable in scope and duration.”
What is “reasonable” will vary based on the facts of a given case. But in general, the burden is on the employer, as the party seeking to enforce a non-compete agreement, to prove all of the following:
- the non-compete agreement is necessary to protect the “legitimate” business interests of the employer;
- the agreement will not cause any “undue hardship” on the former employee; and
- the agreement is not against the “public interest.”
With respect to business interests, an employer can use a non-compete agreement to protect its customer relationships, trade secrets, and other confidential business information. That said, an employer cannot use a non-compete simply to prevent competition from a former employee. And even when a restriction is tied to a legitimate business interest, it must still be reasonable in its scope and duration. For example, a non-compete that prevents an employee from working in a field for life or anywhere in the United States would likely be struck down by a New Jersey court as unreasonable. On the other hand, a non-compete that only covers a certain part of New Jersey or lasts for one year would probably be enforced.
Non-Compete Agreement Lawyers Serving Ocean, Monmouth & Middlesex County
As with any contract, once you sign a non-compete agreement there is always the risk that your employer will sue you for non-compliance. So if you quit your job and agree to work for a competitor, your now ex-employer could file a breach of contract lawsuit. If successful, a judge could issue an injunction preventing you from taking that new job. You might even be ordered to pay monetary damages to your former employer.
At the same time, you may have grounds to challenge the non-compete agreement as unreasonable in its scope and duration, or you may simply have a case that your actions did not constitute a breach of contract. In any case it is imperative that you work with a skilled New Jersey non-compete lawyer who understands this area of the law. So if you need legal advice or assistance, contact Poulos LoPiccolo PC today to schedule an initial consultation.