As an Atlanta, Georgia business contract lawyer, I often see clients who are threatened with a lawsuit seeking to stop them from competing with their former employer. I also see many “former employees” of these employers who are surprised to find that in many instances, these non-competition (“non-compete”) contract, provisions and clauses can and will be enforced. Nevertheless, whether they will be enforced by a Georgia Court, depends on many different factors. In deciding whether to enforce a “non-compete” agreement, Georgia Courts must find that the non-competition provisions of the employee’s contract were “reasonable” in the following areas:
1. Geography – As a Georgia non-competition attorney who has business clients who are both employee and employer, the competition must be restricted to a reasonable geographic area. What is “reasonable” depends on the area of work involved, the demographics of the area, and many other factors.
2. Time Period – To be enforceable, a Georgia non-compete agreement must be reasonable in the scope of time it restricts an employee from working. This largely depends on the type of work, the frequency of the type of employment which occurs in the demographic area, and many other factors. As an Atlanta business contract attorney, I am seeing that more and more employers try and push the outer limits of a time period for a former employee to work in a competitive field. As a general rule, two years is about the maximum amount of time a former employee can be restricted from working. More common, is a one year restriction from competing.
3. Scope and Type of Work – For a Georgia non-completion agreement to be enforceable, the type of work the former employee is engaging in must be substantially similar to the previous employment. This is again, subject to a large amount of definition and discretion. As a Georgia business contract attorney, I know very well that there are varying ways of defining a job and many times, there is not a formal description. I often see this manipulated by both employee and employer to make their respective Georgia business dispute cases better.
If your employer asked you to sign a non-competition agreement, you should play it safe and retain an Atlanta, Georgia business contract lawyer to review, advise and possibly bargain with your employer regarding the conditions of your employment. However, if you are being sued for breach of such an agreement, you should immediately seek Georgia business counsel to defend you against such a law suit. If you do not, the court likely will issue and injunction preventing you from working. Or, if you are an employer, and you feel that your employee has left and is unfairly competing against your company and wish to enforce your Georgia business employment agreement, you need a GA law firm who specializes in Georgia business law and Georgia business contracts.
The Libby Law Firm represents clients in all phases and matters concerning Georgia business contracts. Please feel free to call Our Buckhead Office (404) 467-8611 to discuss your options, or send us a message through our confidential Contact Us form. The Libby Law Firm is conveniently located near the where Roswell and Piedmont Roads intersect in the heart of Buckhead.