Enforceability of Non-Compete Work Agreements

If an employee signs a non-compete work agreement, he or she can be held to its terms, at least up to a limit. Non-competition agreements are only enforceable to the extent they are reasonable in both geographic scope and time duration. Unreasonable agreements will either not be enforced or will reduced by the courts to a more reasonable level if challenged (called “blue penciling”).

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What are implied contracts?

Where there is no written contract, the courts in most states are willing to find an implied contract arising out of the terms set forth in an employment application, employee handbook, employer policies and procedures manual, verbal representations by management and/or regular personnel practices.

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Can an employer establish different probationary periods for new employees?

Employers have a wide variety of choices in setting employment probationary periods, including a right to establish different probationary periods for new employees. During these times, an employee can be terminated with or without cause. Even though probationary employees do have some protections from firing, the right to be free from an extended or different probationary period than someone else is not one of them.

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