How valid is a non-compete agreement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How valid is a non-compete agreement?

I have signed a non-compete agreement with my employer and with the way they are treating us employees, I am trying to go work for a new employer in the same field. I would like to know how valid is my non-compete and if it will hold up in court? If someone with some expertise in this field could help me out, it would be greatly appreciated. There is a bunch of us employees that are struggling with this company and would love to leave and work for other contracters that will treat us better but we are afraid of the legal ramifications.

Asked on September 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In WA, non-compete agreements are generally enforced by the courts. In order to be valid sethe agreements must meet a 3-part test: The restraint on the employee’s future employment must be reasonably necessary to protect the business of the employer; the agreement must not impose limits on the employee greater than necessary to protect the employer; and the restraint must not cause undue harm to the public by losing the skill and/or service of the employee in the competing field. Additionally, the non-compete can't be unreasonably broad in scope. This means that the geographic area and/or the period time for which the employee’s work is restrained must be limited. Further, an employer must demonstrate that a valid contract was formed and that the employee was provided valuable consideration by the employer (i.e. specialized training, marketable skills, etc.) in exchange for the employee’s promise not to compete.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption