Rock Hill, SC asked in Contracts and Employment Law for South Carolina

Q: I recently left a company with a non-compete that specifies a territory "within the United States". Is this enforceable?

The company I left does a small percentage (less than 1%) of work that I would potentially be competing with so it would not affect their core business. Also, I would be providing only some overlapping services, and not all that I was producing at the previous company. Do I need to worry about an injunction or law suit against me if I proceed?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jeremy R. Summerlin
Jeremy R. Summerlin
  • Greenville, SC
  • Licensed in South Carolina

A: The answer depends very much on the exact language of the non-compete. SC law requires that a non-compete be limited reasonably in time (three years or less, generally) and reasonably in geographic scope, among other requirements. If you serviced customers all over the US, then the agreement MAY tend to be more enforceable. However, there are defenses that can raised to the enforcement of non-compete agreements. You should schedule a consult with an experienced non-compete lawyer in South Carolina to have your agreement reviewed, prior to taking the new job if possible. Ultimately, even if the agreement is unenforceable, the employer can still sue you and your new employer and cost you thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees before the enforceability of the agreement is ever determined by the court.

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