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Are your noncompete agreements valid?

The time, effort and money that go into training an employee can be fairly significant. No one wants to see the hard work that was put into an employee be put to use for competing businesses, which is one of the reasons that noncompete agreements exist. A noncompete agreement can ultimately also protect private business information, techniques or strategies. 

The purpose of noncompete agreements 

Workers in Georgia might find the idea of noncompete agreements to be unfair, as these agreements might prevent them from moving to a different company in their field. Owners have a right to protect their legitimate business interests, including things like confidential information and customer lists. However, these needs also have to be balanced with a person’s right to still earn a living. 

Is it reasonable? 

There are a number of factors that must be present in a noncompete agreement for it to be considered reasonable and enforceable. Scope is particularly important. For example, noncompete agreements generally cannot prevent someone from working in an area where his or her former employee does not do business, including outside of the state of Georgia. To be valid an agreement should also: 

  • Offer something in exchange to the worker 
  • Protect an employer’s legitimate business interests 
  • Be reasonable in duration 

It is important to get noncompete agreements right the first time around. If not, employers risk the possibility of a judge ruling that their agreements are not valid, leaving their legitimate business interests vulnerable and exposed. For these reasons, it is often well advised to carefully review noncompete agreements with a knowledgeable attorney prior to asking employees to sign.