The number of U.S. court decisions involving non-compete agreements have risen 61% since 2002, according to research commissioned by the Wall Street Journal. With most cases settled out of court, we know that non-compete agreements are much more widespread. Experienced South Carolina non-compete attorney Andy Arnold has seen firsthand how non-competes can stifle a person’s employment mobility and pursuit of a person’s greatest worth.
Non-Competes: The Beginning of the End
Non-compete agreements are most often signed at the beginning of employment. Employees and business owners who have non-compete agreements often regret the day they signed away the ability to earn their best living. While these agreements are enforceable under South Carolina labor laws, many times non-competes are unreasonable, overly broad, and unduly oppressive. However, courts will enforce these agreements and juries will award damages. Proper planning and legal advice can make all the difference.
Nowadays, non-compete agreements are not just reserved for executives and senior leadership. According to a 2015 working paper “Non-competes in the U.S. Labor Force,” low-skilled, minimum-wage workers – even volunteer positions – are now signing non-compete agreements. The research suggest one in four workers have signed a noncompete in their lifetime, and 12.3% are currently bound by one.
South Carolina Non-Compete Attorney Andy Arnold
An employment lawyer in South Carolina for more than 22 years, Andy Arnold has been successful at both the trial court level as well in the appellate courts. He leads the Horton Law Firm Non-Compete Section. His track record includes a 5-0 Supreme Court decision striking down an overly broad non-compete agreement. He has helped his clients fight off injunctions at the trial court level that threatened to deny them a means of earning a living. The best defense is not to sign one to start with, but if it is past that point, you want someone who knows the law.
If a non-compete agreement is written with restrictions that are too broad and extend well beyond what is necessary to protect the legitimate interest of an employer, then the employee may have a valid defense. For example, if any clause in the non-compete agreement prohibits an employee or contractor from not only working in the territory in which s/he worked, but includes states or counties where the employee never actually performed services, it may be deemed invalid.
Currently, Congress is working on cutting corporate taxes to stimulate the economy, but in 2016, Congress passed and the president signed a federal trade secret law that promises to impact business litigation. This law is already making life more difficult for entrepreneurs and employees looking to compete. Emerging theories such as “inevitable disclosure” are being used to shut down new businesses and entrepreneurs who have entered the marketplace. Non-compete agreements are being used more and more as a way to shut down competition, and the risks to breadwinners is often enormous. High-stakes business litigation is something our litigators thrive on; we level the playing field and find leverage for our clients.
South Carolina non-compete attorney Andy Arnold and Horton Law Firm know the law and understand ways in which courts examine and invalidate unreasonable agreements. We will review your non-compete agreement, advise you on South Carolina labor laws, and help you to find your best options to beat your non-compete agreement. In addition, Horton has doctrines such as “inevitable disclosure.”
For a consultation regarding your non-compete agreement, call 864-233-4351.
To learn more about South Carolina Non-Compete Agreemets, visit the S.C. Non-Compete website.