How to Get Out of a Non-Compete Clause in Washington State
Non-compete clauses are a common feature in contracts, particularly in the business world. They state that an employee will not compete with their employer for a certain period of time after leaving their job. While these clauses are generally enforceable, there are exceptions in Washington State. Understanding how to get out of such a clause can help ensure an employee is not held to something that is not legally binding.
Researching the Clause
The first step in getting out of a non-compete clause is to research it. It is important to understand the specifics of the clause, such as what it covers and how long it lasts. If the clause is overly broad or lasts too long, it may be found to be unenforceable. Washington State law states that a non-compete clause must be reasonable in order to be enforceable.
Reviewing Washington State Law
Washington State law also dictates that non-compete clauses must be “necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.” This means that the clause must serve a legitimate purpose, such as protecting trade secrets or confidential customer information. If the clause does not meet this requirement, it may be found to be unenforceable.
Challenging the Clause
If the clause does not meet the requirements of Washington State law, then it can be challenged. This can be done through mediation or arbitration, or even in court. In order to have a successful challenge, it is important to have evidence that the clause does not meet the necessary requirements. This could include evidence that the clause is overly broad or that it does not protect a legitimate business interest.
Negotiating with the Employer
In some cases, an employee may be able to negotiate with their employer to modify or remove the clause. This could involve agreeing to a shorter duration or a more limited scope. It is important to note that any negotiated changes must still be within the bounds of Washington State law.
Non-compete clauses are an important part of many contracts, but they must comply with Washington State law in order to be enforceable. If a clause does not meet the requirements, then an employee can research it, review the applicable law, challenge it, and negotiate with their employer in order to get out of it. Understanding these steps can help ensure that an employee is not held to something that is not legally binding.