Courts throughout the state have consistently sought to protect employees from the burden of unreasonable New York non-compete agreements. Unfortunately, there is no set standard by which employers and employees can look to in order to properly draft a non-compete agreement that will hold up in court. Instead, the court looks at each agreement on a case-by-case basis, assessing it based upon whether the agreement imposes an unreasonable burden on the employee. When analyzing such an agreement, the court considers the following themes:
- Does the non-compete agreement affect the employee’s ability to earn a livelihood using his or her skills and experience?
- Does the agreement limit the employee’s ability to negotiate a raise or promotion based upon his or her unique skills and hard work?
- Does the agreement have the effect of preventing the employee from being properly paid in an amount that equals his or her value?
- How far is the geographic scope of the non-compete agreement?
- How long does the non-compete agreement last?
If the end result of the analysis is that the employee is unduly burdened, the non-compete agreement in New York is typically deemed unenforceable. For example, a recent non-compete agreement entered into by General Electric with its vice chairman calls for the employee to avoid working for any competitor of GE anywhere in the world. Clearly, the geographic scope is broad. If this agreement were challenged in a New York court, the judge could potentially deem it unenforceable, depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement.
To learn more about the enforceability of these agreements and protecting your rights as an employee, contact an experienced New York non-compete agreement attorney today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.