Non-Compete Agreements in New Jersey are Construed Very Narrowly

By Thomas McKinney

Non-Compete Agreements must state specifically the type of competition that the employee is prohibited from doing during the non-compete period.  In KVL Audio Visual Services v. Hackworth (NJ Appellate Division, January 15, 2010), involved a non-compete clause prohibiting the employees from “accepting employment by or rendering services to any other business competing with [Employer] within a fifty mile radius of [Employer’s location], for a period of one year.”

The employee left the employment of the employer and began working for a competitor.  The employer filed a lawsuit against the employee to enforce the non-compete agreement.  The employer described its business of providing services to the hotel; whereas the employee’s new company described itself as providing business to the customers of the hotel.  Accordingly, the Court interpreted the non-compete agreement very narrowly and ruled that the employee did not violate the terms of the non-compete.

Accordingly, if you have a non-compete agreement with your former employer and are going into a related field, it is important to review your employment agreement closely with an employment attorney and determine whether your former employer can enforce the terms of the non-compete agreement.

Dated: March 27, 2010 – Tom McKinney

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.