Pennsylvania Courts Almost Never Throw Out
Non-Compete Agreements Because They Are Overbroad
Many clients have come to me convinced that their non-compete agreement is
unenforceable because it is for too many years, or to too broad a
geographic area. Usually, they got that notion from someone they met at a
cocktail party, from their aunt's lawyer-friend, or from something they read or
heard over the years. In fact, it seems that most everyone I meet believes that
non-compete agreements can be thrown out due to their length or geographic
In Pennsylvania, Courts Regularly Uphold 3-Year Non-Compete Agreements
First off, courts regularly uphold non-compete provisions lasting up to 3 years. Knowing
this, it is a rare agreement that lasts for longer than that. After all,
what company needs to keep someone non-competitive for more than 3 years?
So, generally speaking, forget having an agreement thrown out because it
applies for too long a period of time.
In Pennsylvania, Courts Regularly Uphold Non-Compete Agreements That Are
Broad in Geographic Scope
Many non-compete agreements prohibit working for a competitor located
well-outside where the employee actually worked. Generally, that is the
case because many companies today have customers located throughout the
United States. While a court may "pare down" the geographic reach of
the covenant not compete to, say, the tri-state area, they will not throw the
agreement out just because it is too broad. And, as a practical matter,
narrowing the geographic reach of the non-compete agreement will do the average
Pennsylvanian little good. Are you really going to move to Detroit for a
There are strategies one may employ to minimize or eliminate the effectiveness
of a non-compete agreement. However, you should not count on having it thrown
out due to its length or geographic scope.
Read more articles
about employment law issues at Philadelphia Area Employment Lawyer, a blog
by John A. Gallagher.
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