A listener who signed a noncompete wants to know if it’s really enforceable. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Listener Mark M. wrote in because when he started a job in which he’d have access to confidential financial documents the company required he sign a noncompete agreement, which prevents him from working at a competitor of the company if he leaves. He wants to know if that’s really enforceable.
Mark, many people think that noncompetes are unenforceable, but that’s not true. The State of California prohibits them, and several other states restrict their use, but in most states, noncompete agreements are largely enforceable. As recently as two weeks ago, a wedding dress designer lost a noncompete case against her former employer. She’s now prohibited from using her own name for business purposes because of that noncompete. So if you want to leave, get a copy of that noncompete so you don’t inadvertently violate it and find your employer walking you down the aisle of the courthouse.