David, Brody & Dondershine, LLP Experienced General Business Law Attorneys
2100 Reston Parkway, Suite 370
Reston, VA 20191

Where tailoring, balancing is essential: restrictive covenants

If the workplace relationship is cast in terms of a roadway, it is most logically seen as a two-way street.

That is, its essential makeup comprises an employer and employees, each with patently distinct objectives yet simultaneously motivated by similar goals. Both sides of an employment relationship must adequately protect themselves and safeguard disparate interests, but each must also pay reasoned allegiance to fundamentally fair treatment of the other in a balanced manner that optimally promotes common profit.

And that is why, in a nutshell, employment agreements that contain restrictive covenants are generally all about nuanced crafting, restraint and reasonableness.

Or should be, if companies executing them with select workers truly hope to them seem enforced by a court following an employee's alleged breach of a material term or condition.

The proven business law attorneys at David, Brody & Dondershine, LLP, handle a comprehensive range of matters for diverse corporate clients throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland, and across the entire Washington, D.C. metro area, including the drafting, negotiation and, when necessary, litigation of employment agreements containing restrictive covenants.

Such clauses typically feature in documents such as confidentiality and noncompete agreements, respectively, which seek to govern the conduct of some workers who are leaving an employer for another business opportunity.

Legitimate concerns can easily arise with such a scenario. What if the worker seeks to use proprietary company data and processes for the benefit of a new business rival? What if he or she intends to establish a rival entity in the same geographical area?

Those and additional concerns motivate employers to sometimes set contractual limits on such workers through restrictive contractual language.

As noted in a recent national business forum, noncompetes and similarly intended restraints must be suitably tailored and reasonably limited in duration, scope and other important ways to clear judicial hurdles and be deemed legally enforceable.

State laws differ regarding the requirements of such agreements.

Indeed, there is much to think about for any employer that deems it important to draft restrictive covenants relevant to some key employees. A first step for business principals having questions or concerns regarding noncompetes or other work-related prohibitions on future employment might reasonably be a candid conversation with a seasoned business and commercial law attorney.

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