For employers considering enforcing competition agreements, these are a number of measures that can and should be taken to protect confidential information and the goodwill of customers and preserve their rights until this crisis is over. Alliances that do not compete are extremely useful and important instruments that can protect your company`s legitimate competitive interests. However, since there are conflicting political motivations within these agreements, specific restrictions on the worker`s obligations and field of work are necessary to meet the challenge of a former employee. You must carefully adjust the components of your agreement and exercise caution to avoid flat-rate work bans for a former employee with a competitor, or your agreement may be unenforceable. As the graph above shows, the most common way for employers to restrict competition from former employees is to prevent them from working in a given geographic area. In most cases, workers were prohibited from working in a specific area where their former employers worked. While some of these territorial restrictions contained a certain radius of mileage in which employment was prohibited, others simply prevented employment in a particular county, state or country. However, non-competition prohibitions were even more open, with concepts that limited employment in vague geographic regions such as the southeast. 14 Although general geographic restrictions often appear to be imposed, North Carolina jurisprudence clearly suggests that prohibited areas must have a strong relationship with a commercial interest. For example, agreements that limited restricted territory to counties or cities where the former worker worked were more likely to be applied than those that extended the restriction to all states or regions of the country where the employer was ceding business.15 A recent case where a nursing staffing company was admitted, the disaffection of the North Carolina courts has unduly general restrictions. In this case, the non-competition agreement prohibiting the nurse from working for another care service not only limited the nurse to providing care services to the new employer. The Tribunal found that because language could be understood to induce the former employee to prepare food or to perform secretarial or other services that had nothing to do with the employer`s affairs, and because the agreement prohibiting the nurse from working with clients of a later employer, and not only with those to whom the nurse was assigned to work by the former employer.
the non-competition agreement was found to be unenforceable. On November 5, 2019, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision in Andy-Oxy Co., Inc. Harris, COA 19-10, Buncombe County No. 18 CVS 3120. The court issued a referral order imposing a labour agreement involving a non-compete agreement and a non-appeal agreement preventing the former employee from holding a new position with a competitor. The Court of Appeal found that the non-competition and non-injunction agreements were excessive and unenforceable, therefore set aside the court and set aside the injunction, allowing the former worker to work for the competitor. The case contains important lessons for both employers and workers. While the protection of customer relations and the goodwill of an outgoing worker are recognized as legitimate employer protection interests, a confederation must not compete, which limits the future employability of the worker by others, must go no further than is necessary to protect the employer`s business.