Before you leave your job to take a new position or start your own business, you should consider whether you have agreed to any restrictive covenants that could limit your ability to work or to solicit customers. Restrictive covenants are generally enforceable in Arizona. They can include non-compete agreements, non-solicitation clauses, and confidential agreements. —However, restrictive covenants may be unenforceable in some cases, so it is wise to consult an employment attorney to determine if you are violating any agreements by taking a new job.
How Restrictive Covenants Can Impact You
If you want to leave your employer for another job in the same field and geographic area, you may be prevented from doing so if you signed a non-compete agreement. These agreements are enforceable in Arizona, but they must meet certain requirements.
First, they must protect a legitimate business interest. Trade secrets or other confidential information could be considered legitimate business interests that are at risk if you go to work for a competitor. However, the determination of a legitimate business interest may depend on the type of industry, your job duties, and what information was accessible to you.
Second, the non-compete agreement must be limited in duration and scope. If the scope or duration is too broad, a court may refuse to enforce it. For example, a non-compete agreement that prevents you from working in a broad field in any capacity would be closely scrutinized by a court. If you work in sales for a tech company, a non-compete that prevents you from selling cars doesn’t protect your former employer’s business interest. However, a non-compete that prevents you from working at tech companies that sell the same type of software within a limited geographic area is more likely to be enforced.
Talk to an Employment Attorney Before You Leave Your Job
Other restrictive convents can also come into play when you leave one job for another. If you plan to solicit your current clients at your new job, you may be violating a non-solicitation clause. These clauses must also be narrowly tailored to protect legitimate business interests, but they could prevent you from starting your own firm or taking a new job if you are counting on bringing previous clients to your new endeavor.
If you want to leave your job, have an employment attorney review your employment contrnonact and any restrictive covenants you have signed. Once you have an idea about what activities are prohibited and whether a court will enforce these restrictions, you can feel more confident about taking a new position.
Chernoff Law handles business and employment law matters throughout Arizona. Contact us to discuss your case with an experienced business litigation attorney.