If you`re a business owner or employee based in Missouri, you may have come across the term “noncompete agreement” before. A noncompete agreement is a legal contract that prohibits an employee from working in a similar industry or for a competitor after leaving their current job. These agreements are commonly used in industries such as technology, finance, and healthcare, where employees may have access to confidential information or trade secrets.
In Missouri, noncompete agreements are generally enforceable as long as they are reasonable in scope and duration. A “reasonable” noncompete agreement is one that is narrowly tailored to protect the employer`s legitimate business interests, such as preventing the disclosure of confidential information or the solicitation of customers. The duration of a noncompete agreement must also be reasonable, typically ranging from six months to two years.
However, Missouri recently passed a new law that imposes some restrictions on noncompete agreements. The law, which went into effect on August 28, 2021, prohibits employers from requiring low-wage employees to sign noncompete agreements. Low-wage employees are defined as those who earn less than $15 per hour or $31,200 per year. The law also requires employers to provide employees with a written copy of the noncompete agreement at least 30 days before the agreement takes effect.
It`s important to note that noncompete agreements are not enforceable in all situations. If a noncompete agreement is too broad in scope or too long in duration, it may be deemed unenforceable by a court. For example, if a noncompete agreement prevents an employee from working in any industry for five years, it is unlikely to be enforceable.
If you are an employer or employee in Missouri and are considering a noncompete agreement, it`s important to consult with a lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action. A lawyer can help you draft a noncompete agreement that is reasonable in scope and duration and protects your business interests. Alternatively, a lawyer can review a noncompete agreement that you have been asked to sign to ensure that it is enforceable and does not unfairly restrict your future employment opportunities.
In conclusion, noncompete agreements are a common tool used by employers in Missouri to protect their business interests. However, these agreements must be reasonable in scope and duration to be enforceable. If you are considering a noncompete agreement, it`s important to consult with a lawyer to ensure that it is legally binding and does not unfairly restrict your future employment opportunities.