Non-Compete Agreements in New Jersey are Construed Very Narrowly

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