Are Non-Compete Provisions Valid in Maryland?
Are Non-Compete Provisions Valid in Maryland? When you go into a new position at a new company, you may choose not to stay there for the entirety of your career. In that position, you may grow and attain new specialized skills that make you more attractive to other companies. Though you may feel proud that you are sought after by those prospective employers, there are times when you may not be able to take a new position somewhere else simply due to an agreement that you entered into with your former or current employer. These agreements can come in the form of non-compete agreements, and if not read and negotiated carefully, they can seriously limit where you can be employed and what you can or cannot do while employed with another company. If your new employer has presented you with an employment contract that contains a non-compete provision, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced employment attorney for legal advice. Your attorney can determine whether the non-compete provision is valid in Maryland and also assist you with negotiating with your employer in narrowing or minimizing the impact of the non-compete provision. The first step, however, is to contact the experienced Baltimore employment attorneys at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. to review the provision and determine whether the non-compete provision is valid. Non-Compete Provisions A typical non-compete provision in an employment contract requires that an employee not enter into a similar profession or trade in competition against his or her current employer. Generally, these agreements must be limited as to geographic scope and time duration, and they will not be enforced if the terms set unreasonable time or geographic limitations on the employee. In Maryland, when the employer has a protectable trade secret, there are certain requirements that must be met for a court to enforce the non-compete provision.
- The non-compete provision must be supported by adequate consideration.
- The non-compete provision must be necessary to support the goals of the employer.
- The non-compete provision must be reasonable as to the geography, as noted above.
- A court will consider public policy reasons to enforce the non-compete provision.
If these elements are not satisfied, then the non-compete provision may be deemed unenforceable. The non-compete provision must be fair to the employee as well as the employer. An unfair or overly broad non-compete provision, however, may prevent you from providing for your family in the future, and you should always seek legal advice and representation when presented with a non-compete provision in an employment contract to determine what rights you are giving away.
Need Legal Advice? Non-compete agreements exist to prevent unfair competition from a former employee. However, a non-compete agreement should not be so restrictive as to hinder employment from any future employers. Because these agreements can be tedious and sometimes difficult to understand, it is in your best interest to have an experienced employment attorney review these provisions to determine whether they are valid. Contact the experienced Baltimore employment attorneys at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford to counsel you on the validity of the non-compete provision and, when appropriate, to negotiate the non-compete provision with your employer on your behalf. You can contact us by sending a message via our website or by calling our office at 410-514-6099. (image courtesy of Alejandro Escamilla)