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Non-Compete Disputes

Philadelphia Non-Compete Dispute Attorneys

Non-Compete Agreements in Pennsylvania

For various types of companies, non-compete agreements can serve as powerful tools for guarding trade secrets, protecting intellectual property, and maintaining the continued success of the business. Both employers and employees should carefully review the details of a non-compete agreement before entering into one, as these documents have several lasting effects for both parties. In some cases, disputes may arise. When this happens, it is important that you seek the assistance of a skilled business litigation lawyer who can protect your rights and best interests.

At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Philadelphia non-compete dispute attorneys represent business owners and workers in an array of non-compete issues, including contract disputes. Together, our attorneys have more than two decades of experience in this area of law, as well as a long-established track record of success. We understand the complexities involved in non-compete disagreement cases and how to effectively resolve disputes while protecting our clients’ best interests.

We invite you to reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. Call (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to learn more.

Are Non-Compete Agreements Legal in Pennsylvania?

Non-compete agreements are not only legal, but they are also very common in Pennsylvania. Ostensibly, non-competes are intended to protect businesses’ valuable information. In a practical sense, these agreements limit the ability of an employee to work for competitors of the employer that hired them. Generally speaking, non-compete agreements are considered legally enforceable in Pennsylvania.

To be considered valid, a non-compete agreement must meet the following three requirements:

  • The agreement is incident to an employee-employer relationship between the involved parties
  • The agreement contains reasonable restrictions that are necessary to protect the employer
  • The restrictions contained within the agreement are reasonable in scope

The last point—non-compete restrictions must be reasonable in scope—is one of the most-contested aspects of non-compete agreements. To be considered “reasonable in scope,” the non-compete agreement must only impose restrictions that are limited in both time and geographical reach. For example, a non-compete agreement that prohibits an employee from working for a competitor in another state or working for any competitor within 20 years will likely be considered unreasonable and, therefore, unenforceable.

What Voids a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement may be voided if it violates any of the requirements for legal enforceability. Additionally, if one party can prove that they did not sign the non-compete agreement or signed it as a result of coercion, pressure, or threats, the agreement may be voided.

If you signed a non-compete agreement with a past employer who is now alleging you have violated the terms of the contract, you may be able to defend against these allegations by proving that your employment with the company did not require you to access trade secrets. You may also be able to prove that accepting your new job does not violate the terms of the non-compete agreement, or that the non-compete agreement does not protect the legitimate business interests of your past employer. Additionally, you could be able to prove that your past employer breached an employment contract, or that they behaved unethically or unlawfully in some way, both of which may void the non-compete agreement.

In any case, we strongly recommend that you reach out to an experienced attorney, like those at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, if you are dealing with any dispute or issue related to a non-compete agreement. An attorney can stand up for your rights and ensure your best interests are protected throughout the legal process.

How Long Is a Non-Compete Valid in Pennsylvania?

Although state law regulates the length of time for which a non-compete is valid in some cases—for example, most medical/healthcare non-compete agreements cannot exceed two years in duration—there is no general statute governing the amount of time a non-compete is valid in Pennsylvania. However, the law does mandate that non-competes must be reasonable in both the amount of time restrictions are effect and the geographical area they cover.

It is extremely important that you review a non-compete agreement prior to signing. If you have already signed a non-compete, an attorney at our firm can review the details of your case to determine if the time restrictions contained therein are “reasonable” under state law and/or precedent. In many cases, we have found such restrictions unreasonable and have successfully challenged numerous non-compete agreements in and out of court.

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