What about non-compete agreements?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Dear Norm,
How enforceable are non-compete agreements, and what’s your opinion of them? I’m an engineer for a converting company and have thought many times about going out on my own.
Victor

Dear Victor,
I don’t believe in non-competes, and I don’t have them. They’re difficult and expensive to enforce, and I don’t think you need them if you run your business properly. That said, I think people should live by the contracts they sign if the contracts are legal. In the case of non-competes, that’s a fairly big “if.” Courts tend to interpret these contracts in favor of the employee because they don’t want to prevent a person from earning a living. Obviously, you should get an opinion about your own non-compete from a lawyer.
Yours truly, Norm

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