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Restrictive Covenants/Breach of Contract

Non-Compete Agreements and Employee Contracts

In trying to prevent their trade secrets, key personnel or clientele from going to competitors, employers often go overboard with restrictive covenants. This leads to threats of legal action, seeking damages or injunctions. These agreements are largely unenforceable. Learn your rights before making any drastic concessions.

The law firm of Sack & Sack chiefly represents the ex-employee in restrictive covenant disputes and other breach of contract litigation. We practice throughout New York City and Long Island, and have extensive experience with these agreements in the financial services, health care, advertising and publishing industries.

We also counsel employers in drafting reasonable non-competes that will have teeth when enforced.

Restrictive Covenants

Attorney Jonathan Sack has over 20 years of experience in New York employment law. He fields inquiries several times a week from people who were threatened or served papers by a former employer. In the typical scenario, the employee was forced to sign a restrictive covenant as a condition of employment, or perhaps after taking the job:

  • Non-compete agreements — Common stipulations preclude working for competitors within a specific geographic radius for a period of one to three years.
  • Non-disclosure agreements — Preventing an employee from divulging trade secrets to a new employer who is in competition.
  • Non-solicitation agreements — Dictating that departing employees may not take current clients with them.

Non-competes in particular may put such an onus on the exiting employee that he or she is effectively barred from working in their field.

Fighting Back

Mr. Sack represented five people who left Barclay's Capital to start up their own sales brokerage firm. In short order, he quashed efforts by Barclay's to stop them. When the company threatened to sue, he eviscerated the non-compete by demonstrating how it was overly broad and arbitrary in duration and geographic restriction, and lacked any post-termination compensation or other valid consideration.

If an employer is trying to enforce an overly restrictive non-competition agreement, accusing you of stealing trade secrets, or asking you to sign an employment agreement, contact Sack & Sack first. You can reach us at 212-702-9000 or contact us online.

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