Non-compete Agreements - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Georgia?
A: Under Georgia’s Restrictive Covenants Act, employee non-compete agreements are generally enforceable. However, they must be reasonable in time, geographic area, and the scope of prohibited activities, and they may only be enforced against the following types of employees: (1) salespeople; (2) managers who regularly supervise two or more employees and have the authority to hire and fire or make recommendations as to such decisions, which are given weight; or (3) key employees or professionals.
Q: Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Georgia even if I am terminated without cause?
A: Yes, the reason for termination does not impact the enforceability of a non-compete agreement, unless its terms provide otherwise.
Q: Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Georgia even if signed after employment commences and/or without any additional consideration?
A: Yes, continued employment is generally considered sufficient consideration for a non-compete in Georgia.
Q: How often do employers actually enforce non-compete agreements?
A: Employers enforce non-compete agreements for a variety of reasons, including: (1) sending a strong message to other employees and competitors that they take their non-compete agreements seriously; (2) to avoid potential lost business opportunities or prevent competitors from gaining an advantage; (3) animosity toward the employee, such as when the employee leaves on bad terms or steals customer lists or other confidential information. Although it is sometimes difficult to predict whether an employer will litigate a potential breach of a non-compete, the Atlanta, Georgia non-compete attorneys at Fidlon Legal can advise you on the best strategies to minimize that risk.
Q: What if my employer is based in another state?
A: Most non-compete agreements contain a choice-of-law provision designating the state’s law that applies. In the absence of such a provision, the law of the state where the employee works normally governs.
Q: Are non-compete agreements enforceable against 1099 independent contractors?
A: Yes, so long as they are otherwise enforceable.
Q: Can I get out of my non-compete agreement if my employer breaches my employment agreement?
A: Generally, no. The employer can still sue to enforce the non-compete agreement, but you may have counterclaims.
Q: Can my employer force me to sign a non-compete?
A: While an employer cannot technically force an employees to sign a non-compete, they can make it a condition of your continued employment. In other words, you can legally be fired if you refuse to sign.
Q: How can I get out of my non-compete agreement?
A: You should consult with the Atlanta, Georgia non-compete agreement lawyers at Fidlon Legal. We will discuss with you the enforceability and scope of your non-compete agreement, and strategies for avoiding costly and burdensome litigation in the event your former employer seeks to enforce it against you.