Employment Contracts

Avoiding Restrictive Covenants When You Leave Your Job

April 24, 2024

author bio pic of Lily  Filippatos

Written by Lily Filippatos

Brought to you by Filippatos Empoyment Law, Litigation & ADR

In the competitive landscape of the New York job market, employees often find themselves bound by restrictive covenants – legal agreements that impose certain post-employment restrictions. While these covenants aim to protect employers’ interests, they can sometimes become a legal minefield for departing employees. In such situations, seeking the guidance of experienced NY employment lawyers becomes crucial to navigate through potential breaches and ensure a smooth transition to a new professional chapter.

Understanding Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants, often embedded in employment contracts, come in various forms, with the most common being non-compete clauses and non-compete agreements. These clauses restrict employees from engaging in similar employment with competitors or starting a competing business for a specified period and within a defined geographic area after leaving their current job. While these clauses are legal in New York, their enforceability hinges on several factors, making it essential for employees to know their rights and responsibilities.

Breach of Contract and Post-Termination Restrictions

Employees considering a career change must be aware of the potential consequences of breaching post-termination restrictions. Breaching a non-compete clause, for instance, could lead to legal action by the former employer. However, the enforceability of these agreements depends on factors such as the reasonableness of the restrictions, the scope of the prohibited activities, and the duration of the restriction.

Experienced NY employment lawyers play a crucial role in assessing the validity of these restrictions and advising employees on the best course of action. In some cases, certain restrictions may be deemed overly punitive, raising questions about their enforceability.

Breach of Contract Enforcement and Legal Remedies

In the event of a breach of contract, employers may seek legal remedies to enforce restrictive covenants. This could include injunctive relief to prevent the employee from engaging in prohibited activities, as well as monetary damages for any harm caused. On the other hand, employees may challenge the enforceability of these covenants based on factors such as ambiguity, undue hardship, or even potential discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Non-Compete Clauses: Can I Get Out of Them?

A common question among employees facing restrictive covenants is whether they can escape the clutches of a non-compete clause. The answer depends on various factors, including the specific language of the clause, the reasonableness of the restrictions, and the circumstances surrounding the employee’s departure. NY employment lawyers can provide invaluable guidance in assessing the feasibility of challenging or negotiating the terms of a non-compete clause.

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliatory Concerns

Employees should also be aware that challenging restrictive covenants might sometimes be intertwined with claims of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. If an employer uses a non-compete agreement as a tool to unfairly limit an employee’s career prospects or engages in retaliatory practices, it could weaken the enforceability of such agreements.

In conclusion, departing from a job with restrictive covenants requires careful consideration and, often, legal counsel. NY employment lawyers specializing in breach of contract enforcement, non-compete clauses, and related matters can help employees assess the legality of these agreements, navigate potential pitfalls, and ensure a smoother transition to new professional opportunities. Understanding the nuances of restrictive covenants is essential to protect both employees and employers in the dynamic landscape of the New York job market.

Call Us

If you are experiencing issues regarding restrictive covenants, please give us a call at 888-9-JOBLAW for a free consultation. We will do our utmost to help secure you the justice you deserve.