These agreements were once limited to high-level executives who had access to the company`s business secrets or who developed unique skills during their business activities. “As long as a person does not have skills or access to very unique trade secrets, non-competition prohibitions have no place in a worker`s employment contract. Unscrupulous non-competition bans not only threaten workers who wish to change jobs, but they also serve as a disguised threat… Workers like Law360 reporters should be able to change jobs and advance their careers without fear of being sued by their former employer. Each state has its own rules for the application of non-competition clauses and agreements. For a non-compete clause to be implemented in New York, it must be reasonable and overcome the presumption of inapplicability. The courts now oppose non-competition bans against workers based on overly broad agreements. An Illinois judge recently dismissed a competitive action against a former employee. The employee signed a non-compete agreement that prevented her from contacting competitors or being “in any way” in contact with a competitor. The judge refused to apply the non-competition agreement because it was too broad. Medix Staffing Solutions, Inc. vs. Dumbrauf (2018). In 2017, Stefanie Russell-Kraft worked as a legal reporter for Law360.
She received a job offer from Reuters, a competitor to Law360. Russell-Kraft had signed a non-compete agreement and Law360 sent a letter to Reuters. The letter claimed that Russell-Kraft had been banned from working for Reuters under its non-compete agreement. Reuters, like many companies, decided to turn Russell`s strength to avoid possible conflict with Law360. The courts will therefore apply non-competition prohibitions, but only to the extent necessary to protect the legitimate interests of employers. Unscrupulous non-competition bans not only threaten workers who wish to change jobs, but they also serve as a disguised threat… The courts are very reluctant to impose a non-competition clause so broad that a worker would not be able to earn a living.