The ins and outs of noncompetes

Nov 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

In states that have not banned the use of noncompete clauses in employment contracts, their validity depends on three specific tests of “reasonableness”:
Duration: Courts in many states have held that a term of six months to one year provides reasonable protection for the former employer. Talent whose contract includes such language could expect to remain off the competitor’s air for that period.
Geography: The contract must not be overly restrictive in terms of its geographic coverage. A station in Seattle, for example, could not reasonably proscribe an employee’s working in Denver. Typically, attorneys advise that the geographic coverage of the noncompete not exceed the station’s designated market area, or a radius of 100 to 200 miles.
Scope of activity: A noncompete agreement might keep a departing weatherman from prognosticating across town, but if he were taking a job as an engineer or a sales rep, that could be a different story.