Question

Are noncompete or nonsolicit agreements enforceable in New York?

Henry L. Saurborn, Jr. - Employment Litigation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Henry L. Saurborn, Jr.

Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C.
New York, NY
Phone: 212-338-9100
Fax: 646-607-9373

View Profile
Answer

New York's highest court has held that an employer can enforce noncompete agreements only where it can satisfy one of two elements: (1) Was the departing employee's job, skills and relationship with customers "unique and extraordinary" or (2) Has the employee taken from the former employer and used or attempted to use for personal benefit confidential information or trade secrets. Hence, it is more likely that an employee who holds an uncommon position and who has developed highly specialized knowledge about a firm's products, services, processes or methods, or enjoys a close and influential relationship with customers will be restricted in future employment than one who holds a position that is common, has little or no interaction with customers, or is not privy to sensitive information.

Likewise, the courts frown upon employees who steal nonpublic or competitively sensitive documents, data and information from their former employer and use that in an attempt to profit through later employment. And where there is sufficient evidence of such conduct, an employee should expect a court to impose restrictions on subsequent employment – including against new employers – even in the absence of a written noncompete agreement.

The considerations applicable to nonsolicit agreements are somewhat different and usually turn on when the former employee's relationship with the targeted person or firm was first established. Generally, if the departing employee was introduced to the customer or employee before first becoming employed at the firm seeking to enforce a nonsolicit provision, then he or she will be free to continue that relationship; otherwise, the former employer may be found to have a superior right to the relationship and can lawfully prevent the former employee from interfering for a reasonable period after the employment ends.

Because the question of the enforceability of noncompete and nonsolicit agreements or provisions is highly fact-specific, and requires the application of the many nuances that exist in this area of law, it is essential that an employee facing the potential enforcement of the same seek the advice of counsel experienced in this area of law.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers About Employment Law - Employee

Employment Law - Employee

When must my employer allow leave in New Jersey?

There are various circumstances which may compel employers in New Jersey to provide a leave of absence.  Under certain circumstances, employers …

Answered by: Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Employment Law - Employee

Are Georgia Employers Required To Pay Overtime?

Workers who go the extra mile for their employers should receive full compensation for the hours they work. This includes any overtime pay they are …

Answered by: Michael Caldwell

Employment Law - Employee

What rights do I have as a pregnant employee in California?

Many women are concerned about what their rights are when they become pregnant. This is intended to be a practical guide about what rights pregnant …

Answered by: Christopher R. LeClerc

Disclaimer:

If you send a lawyer or law firm email through this service, your email will not create an attorney-client relationship and will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. You should not send sensitive or confidential information via this email service. The lawyer or law firm to whom you are writing may not choose to accept you as a client. Moreover, as the Internet is not necessarily a secure environment it is possible that your email sent via the Internet might be intercepted and read by third parties. Super Lawyers will not retain a copy of this message.

Page Generated: 0.51529288291931 sec