Ask the Attorney Column - August 2015 (My employer asked me to sign a non-compete agreement? A friend of mine told me that these are not enforceable in Louisiana. Is this true?)

30-Aug-2015

The following article appeared in the August 2015 issue of the Community Chronicle Newspaper as part of a monthly column titled "Ask the Attorney" authored by Donnie O'Pry of the O'Pry Law Firm.

My employer asked me to sign a non-compete agreement? A friend of mine told me that these are not enforceable in Louisiana. Is this true?

No, this is absolutely not true and is a common misconception among many people. I strongly advise you to use caution when considering whether to sign a non-compete agreement as it could inhibit your ability to work in your desired trade after you part ways with your current employer.

“Non-compete” agreements, as they are commonly called, are agreements whereby an employee agrees not to start a competing business or work for a competitor. The misconception that they are unenforceable likely stems from the fact that non-compete agreements were generally disfavored under Louisiana law until the early nineties. However, several revisions to the law governing these agreements has led to a much broader acceptance and enforcement of the agreements by Louisiana courts.

Although non-compete agreements are enforceable, the courts will still require strict adherence to the requirements set out in the law. Namely, a non-compete agreement must be for a term no longer than two years. However, the two-year period can be set to begin in the future, most commonly, on the first day that you are no longer employed with your company. Additionally, the non-compete agreement must specifically name each parish in which you will be prohibited from working and your current employer must actually be carrying on a like business in those parishes. It is not sufficient for the agreement to simply prohibit you from working anywhere in the State of Louisiana.

If you are unsure about whether your specific non-compete agreement is enforceable or not, it is always wise to consult with an attorney experienced in reviewing and drafting non-compete agreements. Good luck!

Donnie O’Pry is the Managing Partner of the O’Pry Law Firm, a litigation firm specializing in representing accident and injury victims. Please email your questions to Donnie@oprylaw.com.