Is my noncompete agreement enforceable in Ohio?

Robert J. Dubyak

Answered by:
Robert J. Dubyak

Located in Cleveland, OH
Dubyak Nelson, LLC

Robert J. Dubyak - Business Litigation - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Robert J. Dubyak

Dubyak Nelson, LLC
Cleveland, OH
Phone: 216-364-0500

View Profile

Everyone has the right to employment. The first thing to do to determine if a noncompete agreement is enforceable is to read it carefully and to determine which type of restrictive covenant it is. Some agreements prohibit employment with certain organizations. Others prohibit specific actions. Any agreement is enforceable unless it can be proven to cause undue hardship to the employee.

There are two primary types of restrictive covenants that people confuse when asking this question. A noncompete agreement is a basic form that prevents a person from actually working for a competitor. A nonsolicitation agreement prevents a person from soliciting or contacting the employer’s customers after leaving the company. In general, nonsolicitation agreements are enforceable, while noncompete agreements are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It comes down to the balance between an employer’s business needs and an individual’s ability to earn a living.

Determining undue hardship

Enforceability depends on the concept of undue hardship that affects both parties. From a business perspective, the agreement requires a legitimate business purpose for prohibiting movement to a competitor. This often involves knowledge of confidential information, such as business practices that, if shared, would be detrimental to the previous employer’s business. From the former employee’s perspective, undue hardship means that the agreement makes it difficult for the him or her to earn a living.

Many factors come into play

Determining undue hardship is a fact-intensive process. It is a case-by-case area of law that depends on many circumstances, including specifics related to the field of industry, geography, the local job market, the length of the restriction and more. The analysis will measure the needs of the business against the needs of the individual.

A noncompete agreement is a contract between employer and employee. The circumstances of how and when the contract was signed may influence its validity. Ohio state laws also prevent an employee from disclosing trade secrets, which means that a business is protected against certain sharing of information even if no agreement was signed.

Different ways to find a solution

Even when a noncompete is contested, there are options besides going to court. In many industries, such as in health care, negotiation can provide a favorable solution for both parties. In any noncompete agreement, the details are unique to the individual case and require thorough examination.

While many people assume that a noncompete clause is unenforceable, that is often not the case. People often sign such agreements without realizing the significant ramifications. If there are questions about the enforceability of a noncompete, it is important to consult with an attorney for specific advice because there are few generalizations in this area of employment 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 By Robert J. Dubyak

Business Organizations

How do I get out of a business partnership in Ohio?

Business disputes among partners are common. Often, partners will have the same vision when forming a company but differences arise or surface as the …

Answered by: Robert J. Dubyak

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


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: 0.5673770904541 sec