Pennsylvania employees whose jobs involve some aspect of trade secrets and confidential or proprietary business information are increasingly subject to “restrictive covenants” as a condition of employment. These can include confidentiality agreements, non-compete, and non-solicitation agreements. Because these types of agreements can often be enforced under Pennsylvania law and limit your future options, it’s imperative for employees to consider the potential consequences and ramifications before they sign.
Whether you are leaving a job where you were subject to a non-compete agreement, your prospective employer insists you sign one, or your former employer wants to add a restrictive covenant to your severance package, it’s critical to consult with an employment law attorney. At Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling LLC, we provide our clients with a careful review of any non-compete agreement and advise them as to whether it is in their best interests. We also defend our clients’ rights in the courtroom in the event an employer tries to enforce a restrictive covenant that would bar them from future employment opportunities.
Many employees might feel pressured to sign a restrictive covenant. But it’s important to understand that these types of agreements are often unfair to employees. However, Pennsylvania courts will often enforce these restrictions if they are necessary to protect legitimate employer interests and are otherwise reasonable.
At Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling, we have represented many individuals who are subject to non-competes and other restrictions on prospective employment. We have counseled our clients and litigated on their behalf concerning the following types of restrictive covenants:
Restrictive covenants can result in considerable contention between an employer and employee — particularly when an employer tries to stop a former employee from earning a livelihood. Before resorting to litigation to resolve such a dispute, our attorneys engage with employers to attempt to negotiate a resolution to allow you to continue working in your industry. In cases where such an outcome is not possible, we do not hesitate to bring a dispute into the courtroom, where we will fight to eliminate or limit the restrictions in place.
Since a restrictive covenant can affect your ability to find work in your chosen field, it can have significant professional and financial impacts. Pennsylvania courts will consider a variety of factors in determining whether a restrictive covenant should be enforced as written, modified to some extent, or disregarded. A judge will evaluate whether the restrictive covenant is really necessary to protect a legitimate business interest. It will also consider whether the time, scope, and geography limitations are reasonable.
If a non-compete agreement or other type of restrictive covenant is overly broad — or the terms are too one-sided — a court may render it unenforceable. However, it’s still critical to review each provision carefully before executing the agreement to avoid lengthy and costly disputes at a later time. At Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling, our employment attorneys are dedicated to ensuring your best interests are protected and you will not be restricted from pursuing lawful employment. Providing timely legal advice and capable counsel, we know how to negotiate more favorable terms on behalf of our clients and represent their interests when unfair terms should be disallowed.
If you are being asked to sign a non-compete agreement, the attorneys at Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling LLC can advise you to make sure it is in your best interests. In the event your former employer is threatening to keep you from working or has already sued you to enforce a restrictive covenant, we can defend you. For more information about how our attorneys can assist you, call (412) 338-1445 or email us to schedule a no-fee, initial conversation. Located in Pittsburgh, Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling LLC handles a wide variety of employment matters for clients in Pittsburgh and throughout Western Pennsylvania.