Frequently Asked Questions: New York Non-Compete Agreements

Are there any laws or statutes that govern New York non-compete agreements?

No.  Which is not to say there are no guidelines for how New York non-compete agreements are analyzed.  Courts look at these on a case-by-case basis.

Under what circumstances will a New York Court enforce a non-compete agreement?

Only if the restrictions are reasonable. A non-compete agreement is only reasonable if:

  • The restriction is no greater than necessary to protect the employers legitimate protectable interest;
  • Does not impose an undue hardship upon the employee;
  • Does not cause injury to the public; and
  • Is reasonable in terms of duration and geographic scope.

What is a legitimate protectable interest?

  • Trade secrets and confidential information.
  • An employee's unique, special or extraordinary services going to a direct competitor.

Can courts modify a New York non-compete agreement, or just enforce some of it?

Yes.  This is called the "Blue Pencil Doctrine."  A judge can literally take a pencil (it doesn't have to be blue - frankly, it doesn't even have to be a pencil) and amend a non-compete agreement to make it compliant with New York law.  There is no requirement to do so.  A court can also just hold that the agreement is altogether unenforceable.

Does the employer have to pay the employee to sign the non-compete agreement?

No.  Just being employed is sufficient consideration.

Further questions?

No problem - contact us today.



I Need a Lawyer to Review My Non Compete Agreement

Here's a frantic call we get a lot: "I need a lawyer to review my not compete agreement!"  We are always happy to help.  We review non compete agreements all the time and would be happy to help you too. Do you need a lawyer to review your non-compete agreement for you?  More often than not, these are rush-jobs.  We can schedule same-day meetings for an in-depth paragraph-by-paragraph review of your agreement.  We will explain, in basic English, whether your non-compete agreement is enforceable, and, practically speaking, how likely it is to be enforced.

Non-compete agreements can create a lot of stress.  And these agreements can lead to expensive, high-stakes litigation.  If you are concerned about your non-compete, you should contact an attorney.  Especially if you have another job lined up!

We can help you today.  Contact us via this site, stop by our downtown offices, or just call us - 646.524.6001.

NY Small Business Employment Law Issues -- Restrictive Covenants

NY Small Business Employment Law Issues -- Restrictive Covenants Do you screen for restrictive covenants when hiring?  Failure to do so might cost you.  Effective screening during the hiring process can save you a lot of trouble in the future.  Frequently, new-hires are subject to restrictive covenants that you do not know about.  This can expose you to claims even if you were not aware that the employee was subject to a restrictive covenant.

These days, most companies look at departing employees’ computer logs when they receive a notice of departure.  By doing this, they can easily discern not only if the employee has breached his or her restrictive covenants, but also if such employee intends to do so.

You need to be proactive and organized in uncovering any restrictions that new-hires are subject to.  Do not just take a candidate’s word.  Inquire about all possible pre-existing non-disclosure agreement, intellectual property agreements, non-competes and non-solicits.  Contact an employment attorney to learn more about what you can do to safeguard your start-up against employment claims.

New York Non Compete Attorneys

Employers are increasingly trying to prevent employees from leaving their employment and then competing with them.  Whether these non compete agreements are enforceable or not in New York is often a hotly contested issue.  Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC has extensive experience in representing employees and employers in matters involving non compete clauses.  Typically, our New York Non Compete Attorneys handle review of these agreements on an hourly basis and can get started within 24 hours of hearing from you. There are many issues to discuss when it comes to New York Non Compete Agreements. Our attorneys can guide you in many of these. For example, your employer does not have to give you anything in exchange for making you sign a non compete agreement. Similarly, your employer can make you sign a non compete agreement as a condition of continued employment (i.e. "sign or you're fired). Our New York Non Compete Lawyers may be able to help you make sense of it all.

If you have a non compete agreement that you would like to discuss, please contact our New York Non Compete attorneys at 646.524.6001.  One of our New York Non Compete Attorneys will get back to you within 24 hours.

Is Payment Required to Make a Non-Compete Enforceable in New York?

There are many factors that are used to determine whether a non-compete is enforceable.  Laws regarding the enforceability of non-competes vary by state, but courts generally weigh several factors in making the determination, including (a) whether the non-compete is reasonable in time and geography, (b) whether the employee was terminated without cause, (c) whether the employee had access to the employer’s secrets, (d) whether the non-compete is necessary to protect the employer’s interest and (e) whether the employee may have been coerced  into signing it.  Under general contract law principles, each side must get something of value in order for a contract to be enforceable (this requirement is referred to as “consideration”). In some states, an employee must receive actual payment in order to meet the consideration requirement for a non-compete.  Other states, including New York (and New Jersey), view continued employment to be sufficient consideration to make a non-compete enforceable and actual payment is not required. If you have any questions about your non-compete or non-competition agreement, please contact Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC.