Are non compete contracts enforceable in the state of WA? Is there any way to get out of it?

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2009

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Are non compete contracts enforceable in the state of WA? Is there any way to get out of it?

Can anyone give me any insight on non compete contracts and if they hold up in the state of Washington? Also, by not receiving your pay on your scheduled pay date and your check bouncing from your employer be a breach of contract and help with terminating such agreement? (Note this happened on different occasions)

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Although I am not admitted in Washington, I have read articles that state that Washington courts will hold as enforceable a “reasonable” non compete contract. In general there is a three prong test used: (1) whether the restraint on the employee is necessary for the protection of a legitimate business interest or the goodwill of the employer; (2) whether the restraint imposed upon the employee is any greater than reasonably necessary to secure the employer’s business interest or goodwill; and (3) whether the degree of injury to the public is such a loss of service and skill of the employee as to warrant a refusal to enforce the non compete. Also, the courts look to general "contract" principals, which these agreements fall under the law. One of the issues most looked for is that of "consideration" or what each party gives and gets in return for signing the agreement. Employers have to bargain for an agreement to not to compete. As for the check bouncing, I am unsure how it applies here and really a lawyer would need to read the agreement. Seek counsel. Look here at as a start.

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