Thursday, January 13, 2011

You May Not Be Within the Class of Employees That Can Be Covered by a Non-Compete Agreement.

  Maryland Employers often require employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment.  But just because you signed a non-compete agreement does not mean that it is enforceable as to you.  Only a narrow class of employee may lawfully be covered by such an agreement. 

  The case, Ecology Services, Inc. v. Clym Environmental Services, LLC, illustrates the point.  There, the Maryland Court of Special Appeal refused to enforce a non-compete agreement applied to “Radioactive Waste Specialists” and “Radioactive Waste Technicians.”  The Employer bringing the action could not prove that the employees possessed (a) any truly unique skills or (b) exploited any specialized personal contact at their new job. Truly unique skills are those that would make it difficult to find a substitute employee with the same skills.  Specialized personal contacts are generally limited to proprietary sales opportunities.

  In sum, an employer can only enforce non-compete agreement against a narrow class of employees and only when it can state a legally protectable interest. 

   See this post and contact an attorney if you are threatened with enforcement of a non-compete in Maryland.

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