Whether you left your former employment willingly or your employer terminated you, you may be concerned with the terms of the noncompete agreement that your employer made you sign. Can they truly keep you from starting your own business or working for a competitor? Or would a court find their agreement unenforceable if you challenged it?
What makes noncompete agreements enforceable
The Wisconsin legislature has specified clearly that noncompete agreements are recognized and enforceable in Wisconsin courts – but only if they meet certain requirements. These requirements exist to safeguard an employee’s rights from overreach from an employer that might otherwise ruin that employee’s ability to provide for themselves and their family.
Under the statute, in order to be enforceable, the terms of a noncompete agreement must be reasonably necessary for the protection of your employer. In other words, the activity that the agreement prohibits you from engaging in must actually be a threat to your employer that could really do some damage. They cannot limit your work options merely to punish you for leaving the company.
Additionally, the terms of the agreement cannot be unreasonable restraint. This means that the time period and geographical scope of the agreement must be rationally related to the purpose of the agreement, not overly oppressive. If the terms are too harsh and limit your ability to support yourself too severely, it’s likely that a court could declare the agreement to be unenforceable.
If you have doubts, it could be a good idea to let an experienced attorney take a look at your noncompete agreement, to see whether a court is likely to enforce your agreement or not. Alan C. Olson & Associates is here to assist you with this and any other employment-related concern that you may have.