Non-compete agreements serve as the basis for many employment disputes. All parties often enter a business relationship with no expectation of issues arising, but sometimes unexpected disputes over the terms of a non-compete clause or agreement arise. A skilled contract dispute litigation attorney could help a party resolve their non-compete dispute in an efficient, effective way.
Sometimes it is possible to resolve a dispute through negotiation with the help of legal counsel. However, some disagreements end up in court. A Minnesota non-compete disputes lawyer could help you defend the legal rights of your company or your rights as a professional during negotiation or in court.
Understanding Non-Compete Agreements
Non-compete agreements are legally binding documents or clauses in a contract that restricts certain actions of an employee after their term of employment. The terms of these agreements must be very specific as courts tend to strike down broad restrictions on a person’s ability to make a living.
Generally speaking, a covenant to not compete (CNC) is intended to prevent a former employee from leaving and poaching clients or using skills gained at the company to act as a direct competitor. An important factor in many non-compete agreements is geography, restricting where the employee may set up shop. Agreements are less likely to hold up in court if they restrict an employee from competing in a geographical area that is far from where their ex-employer does business.
Another factor is the length of the agreement as courts do not allow for indefinite non-compete agreements. Employers must set a specific amount of time for the non-compete period to last. Non-compete agreements must also relate to a specific type of business. Courts are less likely to stop an ex-employer from opening a sandwich shop across the street from their former accounting firm, compared to opening a competing accounting business. An experienced Minnesota non-compete disputes attorney could help either side in this disagreement fight for their legal rights to operate a business.
Litigating Non-Compete Disputes
It is not unusual for two parties in a non-compete dispute to reach an amicable agreement. When that is impossible, these cases routinely go to trial. Litigating a non-compete clause is complex and unlike most civil cases with a wide range of outcomes that are possible at the end of these conflicts.
If the court determines that a non-compete agreement is overly broad or otherwise unenforceable, they could strike down the agreement entirely. While this outcome is uncommon, it might occur when the non-compete is vague, broad, or fails to meet the requirements of a contract under state law. Conversely, courts tend to uphold a non-compete if they believe it is within the bounds of the law specifying time, scope, and geographical limitations.
In other situations still, the courts may apply what is called the Blue Pencil Doctrine in which certain parts of the clause may be retained while others are struck down or modified. A Bloomington non-compete disputes attorney could prepare for arguments related to amending the scope of an agreement and fight for the best possible outcome.
Contact a Minnesota Non-Compete Disputes Attorney For Help
While a dispute over a non-compete agreement can be stressful, stopping the way your business operates or restricting your future as a worker, with the right legal team on your side, you could protect yourself from being taken advantage of. A Bloomington non-compete disputes lawyer could guide you through the process of negotiating these issues or resolving them in a court of law. To discuss your legal options, call to schedule an initial consultation today.