Can a minor be held to a non-compete agreement?

Can a 17 year old be held to a non-compete agreement? It says he cannot work for
a competitor for 18 months after he is no longer employed with the company.

Asked on August 8, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A minor lacks the legal "capacity" (i.e. ability) to consent to a contract. And a non-compete is a contract. Therefore, such a contract is void and therefore is of no legal force and effect.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If they were a minor when they signed the non-competition agreement (and no parent/legal guardian also signed on their behalf), the agreement would be void for lack of capacity: a minor cannot enter into legally binding contracts (a non-competition agreement is a contract and is subject to all the same rules as any other contract).

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