Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Non-compete agreements being debated in the U.S.

Many companies in the United States use non-compete agreements for their employees. These agreements have been around for a long time and are there to protect the company from losing its intellectual property to another company. But lawmakers are trying to put an end to non-compete agreements.

Even for workers who make under $15 hour, non-compete agreements are common. These agreements that affect not only multi-billion dollar deals, but also ordinary Americans, are used in every industry. Jimmy Johns, a sandwich delivery store, used to make their workers sign one saying they wouldn't work in another sandwich shop within two miles of one of its stores for two years. Over 15 percent of low wage workers have had to sign a noncompete agreement.

Ending non-compete agreements is becoming more common nationally. New York's attorney general stated that non-compete agreements limit a worker's mobility and opportunities. Other states have also joined in the movement to restrict their use. Congress is considering banning them as well.

Employers in New York use non-compete agreements for many reasons. An employer wants to protect their intellectual property from other companies and keep their trade secrets safe. But, an employee may get stuck in a complicated non-compete agreement that is confusing and restricting. An attorney who specializes in these agreements can help an employee who would like to move on to another job and advise them on how best to do that. An attorney understands the delicate balance an employee needs to maintain with their old and new employer in order to avoid a lawsuit.

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