Resolving Non-Compete Agreement Disputes in Lehigh County
Non-compete agreements often function as a critical element of a company’s success. These agreements help businesses safeguard intellectual property, protect trade secrets, and ensure continued success in the marketplace. However, these agreements are also highly disputed.
To be legally enforceable, a non-compete agreement must meet certain requirements. Namely, it must be limited in both time and geographical location and cannot place unreasonable restrictions on workers. Businesses and employees alike should carefully review the details of a non-compete agreement before signing to avoid future issues. When a dispute does arise, it is important to contact an experienced business litigation attorney who can protect your rights and interests.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we represent both employers and employees in an array of contract disputes, including non-compete disagreements. Our Allentown non-compete dispute attorneys can help you seek an efficient, favorable resolution based on the specific details of your case. We are recognized throughout Lehigh County and beyond for our impressive track record of success, as well as our commitment to each and every one of our clients.
What Makes a Non-Compete Agreement Valid?
Pennsylvania recognizes the validity of non-compete agreements when they meet certain requirements.
To be legal and enforceable in Pennsylvania, a non-compete agreement must:
- Be incident to an employment relationship between both involved parties
- Contain restrictions that are reasonably necessary to protect the employer
- Have restrictions that are reasonable in both duration and geographical reach
Most non-compete disputes involve issues regarding the restrictions contained within the agreement, specifically the duration and geographical extent of those restrictions. However, disputes may also arise regarding whether the non-compete restrictions are reasonably necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests, or whether the agreement actually protects the business’s interests.
Regardless of the issue you are facing, our Allentown non-compete dispute attorneys can help. We assist individuals who wish to challenge the validity of non-compete agreements, as well as business owners and companies seeking to enforce legally valid non-competes. We can also review a non-compete agreement that you are being asked to sign or that you wish to have employees enter into to ensure legal compliance and enforceability.
Can a Non-Compete Agreement Be Voided in Pennsylvania?
A non-compete agreement may be voided if it fails to adhere to the three requirements listed above. If the non-compete is found to violate any of these requirements, it is not legally enforceable and may be voided. Additionally, a non-compete may be considered invalid if one or both parties did not enter into the agreement of their own free will.
It is also possible for individuals who have signed non-compete agreements with an employer to defend against allegations of violating the non-compete agreement without having to prove that the non-compete is invalid.
Some possible defenses to allegations of violating a non-compete agreement include:
- You Did Not Have Access to Trade Secrets: If you can prove that your employment did not require you to access the company’s trade secrets, you may be able to prove that you have not violated the terms of the non-compete agreement.
- The Non-Compete Does Not Protect Legitimate Business Interests: Another common defense to allegations of violating a non-compete agreement involves proving that the agreement does not protect the valid business interests of the employer.
- Accepting the New Job Does Not Violate the Non-Compete: If you can prove that accepting a new position or job does not violate the terms of your non-compete agreement, you may be able to defend yourself against such allegations from a past employer.
- Your Employer Breached an Employment Contract: If your employer breached an employment contract—or another contract related to your employment—you may have grounds to prove the non-compete agreement should be voided.
- Your Employer Acted Unethically or Unlawfully: Unethical and/or unlawful business practices by an employer may be grounds for having a non-compete agreement (or other employment contracts) voided.
If your employer or past employer is alleging or suing you for violating a non-compete agreement, van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin can help. We provide aggressive defense on behalf of workers who are facing all types of non-compete disputes and related issues. Our Allentown non-compete dispute attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as develop a legal strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
How Non-Compete Agreements Can Protect Your Business
The purpose of a non-compete agreement is to protect the interests of a business, specifically, the business’s trade secrets and intellectual property. These agreements limit employees’ ability to work for a competitor, both during and after their employment with your company. However, to be legally enforceable, the non-compete agreement must be reasonable in scope. This means that it must be limited in both the amount of time it restricts employees from working for competitors and the geographical area in which such restrictions apply.
If you are a business owner who wishes to protect the interests of your company, we recommend that you reach out to our non-compete agreement attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin. We can sit down with you to go over your options and assist you in creating a solid, legally enforceable non-compete agreement for your employees. We can also review an existing non-compete and ensure that it meets all validity requirements set forth by the state of Pennsylvania.
Our attorneys offer free, in-person consultations. We strive to develop personalized solutions that meet the unique needs of each individual business. And, when disputes arise, our firm can help you work toward an efficient resolution with minimal disruptions to your everyday operations.