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Employers Must Prove Actual Harm to Enforce Non-Compete in New York

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In New York, a court will find that a non-compete agreement is valid when it is reasonable. Typically, this means that the restriction does not go beyond what is needed to protect the employer, is not overly broad, is not injurious to the public, and is limited in length of time and geographic scope. If the provision is found to be reasonable, it may be enforced against a former key employee when there is evidence of an actual loss of clients or business to the employer.

Recently, online corporate giant Amazon filed a lawsuit against a former employee who was in charge of its cloud services. The employee accepted a position working for Amazon competitor Google to perform substantially similar services. To succeed in a New York breach of non-compete action, Amazon would have to demonstrate:

  • Actual ongoing damage to Amazon’s operations, reputation, or goodwill
  • That the former employee had unique knowledge and skills
  • That it will be very difficult or nearly impossible for the company to replace the former employee

Amazon would have to show actual proof that its loss of the key employee to Google will result in irreparable harm to succeed in an attempt to enforce the non-compete.

Non-competes and other employment-related matters are complex and require the guidance of a knowledgeable New York non-compete attorney. Our free guide titled 3 Reasons That Your Employment Agreement May Not Be Worth the Paper It’s Printed On offers more information about your legal rights. To learn more about the enforceability of non-competes, contact an experienced New York non-compete agreement lawyer today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.

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