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Non-compete agreements, also known as restrictive covenants, are becoming increasingly popular in Missouri. Businesses are including them in employment contracts to prevent employees from leaving and working for competitors in the same industry. However, these agreements are often considered controversial because they can limit an employee`s ability to earn a living.

What is a non-compete agreement?

A non-compete agreement is a legal contract between an employer and employee that restricts the employee`s ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business for a certain period after leaving their current employer. The agreement is designed to protect the employer`s trade secrets, confidential information, and customer relationships.

However, non-compete agreements can also limit an employee`s ability to work in their chosen profession or industry. In Missouri, courts will only enforce non-compete agreements if they are reasonable in scope and duration and protect a legitimate business interest.

Enforcement of non-compete agreements in Missouri

Missouri is considered an employer-friendly state when it comes to non-compete agreements. In Missouri, courts will enforce non-compete agreements if they are reasonable in scope and duration. This means that the agreement must be designed to protect a legitimate business interest, such as confidential information or customer relationships.

In general, the courts in Missouri will only enforce non-compete agreements if they meet the following criteria:

1. The agreement must be reasonable in scope – The agreement must be limited in scope to the specific geography, industry, and job duties that the employee performed while working for the employer.

2. The agreement must be reasonable in duration – The duration of the agreement must be limited to the time necessary to protect the employer`s legitimate business interests.

3. The agreement must be supported by consideration – The employee must receive something of value in exchange for signing the non-compete agreement, such as a job offer or access to confidential information.

If the non-compete agreement is found to be too broad or unreasonable, the court may refuse to enforce it, leaving the employer without legal protection.

Conclusion

Non-compete agreements are becoming increasingly common in Missouri as businesses seek to protect their trade secrets and customer relationships. However, these agreements are often controversial because they can limit an employee`s ability to earn a living. If you are an employer considering a non-compete agreement, it`s essential to consult with legal counsel to ensure that the agreement is reasonable in scope and duration, and protects a legitimate business interest. If you are an employee who has been asked to sign a non-compete agreement, it`s essential to understand your rights and consult with legal counsel if necessary.