Washington State Law Non Compete Agreements

Washington State Law Non-Compete Agreements: What You Need to Know

Non-compete agreements are legal contracts that restrict employees from working with competitors of their current employer for a certain amount of time after leaving the job. In Washington State, non-compete agreements are selectively enforceable, meaning that if the agreement is too broad or restrictive, the court may refuse to enforce it.

Here are some key things to know about non-compete agreements in Washington State:

1. Requirements for Validity

For a non-compete agreement to be valid in Washington State, it must meet the following requirements:

– The agreement must be in writing and signed by both the employer and the employee.

– The agreement must be supported by consideration, which means that the employer must provide something of value to the employee in exchange for signing the agreement.

– The agreement must be reasonable in terms of duration, geographic scope, and the type of work restricted.

2. Restrictions on Non-Compete Agreements

Washington State law places restrictions on the use of non-compete agreements. For example, non-compete agreements are not enforceable against certain types of employees, such as employees who earn less than twice the minimum wage or independent contractors. Additionally, non-compete agreements cannot restrict an employee`s ability to pursue work in another state or country.

3. Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements

If an employer believes that an employee has violated a non-compete agreement, the employer may seek a court order to enforce the agreement and obtain damages. However, Washington State courts often consider whether the non-compete agreement is reasonable and necessary to protect the employer`s legitimate business interests. If the court determines that the agreement is too restrictive, it may refuse to enforce it.

4. Pros and Cons of Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements can offer several benefits to employers, such as protecting trade secrets and preventing employees from using their knowledge and skills to compete against the employer. However, non-compete agreements can also be a barrier to employees seeking new opportunities and can limit innovation and competition in the marketplace.

In conclusion, non-compete agreements in Washington State are selectively enforceable and must meet certain requirements to be valid. Employers should carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of non-compete agreements before requiring their employees to sign them. If you have questions about non-compete agreements or other employment law issues, it`s important to consult with an experienced attorney.


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