Employers may decide to circulate non-compete agreements at any point in their employees’ careers. Non-compete agreements are contracts like any other. They are enforced when there is mutual assent and consideration. Douglas Thompson, 2001-Ohio-2452, 01-LW-1197, 00CA8. Thus, employers must exchange something more than their current obligations to enforce a non-compete agreement.
However, when an employee is “at-will,” many courts hold that continued employment is enough of a “something” to constitute consideration for a non-compete agreement. But the case law also suggests that an employee must actually face the consequence of losing her job for refusing to sign a non-compete agreement for a court to enforce it. Id.
The above information is a mere snippet of the complexities of non-compete agreements. Non-compete agreements are difficult for many employees and employers to understand. If you are faced with a non-compete issue, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.
Matt Miller-Novak, Esq.
Godbey and Associates