A Maryland Non-Compete Agreement is a contract used by employers or businesses to prevent workers from taking employment with a competitor or setting up a competing firm for a period of time after leaving work.
In Maryland, a non-compete agreement can be used to protect trade secrets, established customer relationships and client lists, and unique services. It can also be used to protect and promote business goodwill.
Reasonable Uses and Objections
- Enforceable when terminated without cause? – Yes.
- Employee non-solicitation agreement permitted? – Yes.
- Customer non-solicitation agreements permitted? – Yes.
- Does continuing employment equal sufficient consideration? – Yes, but may be held to constitute duress.
- Statute of Limitation for breach of contract: 3 years.
Legally Enforceable in Maryland?
For over 100 years, Maryland courts have upheld non-compete agreements. However, courts have scrutinized them closely to ensure they are narrowly drafted. Maryland courts are quite willing to overturn a non-compete agreement that places too great a geographic restriction on the ability of an employee to seek work in his field. An agreement of too long duration will also be overturned.
In contrast, in recent legislation, the State of Maryland has emphatically permitted non-compete provisions that forbid the taking of client and customer lists. However, the law is silent on similar non-compete provisions which forbid the solicitation of customers.
The Maryland Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals will carefully scrutinize non-compete agreements to ensure they are carefully drawn to protect the employer’s interests and the worker’s right to participate in the labor market.
In 2017, the United States District Court for Maryland, after an examination and application of state law, held that a non-compete agreement with a duration of five years was unenforceable, both because the employer could not cite any compelling interest for such a long period of time, and because the employer could not cite any Maryland case law in which an agreement with a five-year duration was upheld. 
Maryland courts have consistently found that any non-compete agreement must be narrowly tailored to a geographical area and extend no further than is “reasonably necessary for the protection of the business of the employer and do not impose an undue hardship on the employee or disregard the interests of the public.” 
In 2019, a statute banned certain non-compete agreements. Non-compete agreements for employees making less than $15 per hour or $31,200 per year may not be required.
Existing agreements made before the statute’s effective date, 1 October 2019, were not grandfathered in and are also unenforceable as per § 3-716.
Download a Maryland Non-Compete Agreement in PDF or Word format: