A Washington Non-Compete Agreement is a legal document that employers can use to protect confidential information from being shared with competitors by their current and former employees.
These agreements are typically used to safeguard customer information and contacts and prevent employees from using them to lure customers away from your business. In addition, they can also cover goodwill. It’s essential to ensure that the agreement is legally enforceable to be effective.
Legally Enforceable in Washington?
Yes, a non-compete agreement is legally enforceable in Washington, but you need to structure it carefully.
Remember that the purpose of non-compete agreements in Washington is to prevent confidential business information from being shared. If the non-compete agreement is unduly harsh on the employee, it could be thrown out in court. Therefore, examining how non-compete agreements in Washington should be structured is essential as per RCW 49.62.020.
Reasonable Use and Exemptions
For a non-compete agreement in Washington to be legally enforceable, it has to be necessary to protect the employer’s business. The restriction cannot be more significant than is reasonably necessary to ensure the employer’s goodwill and business are properly protected.
Furthermore, notice must be provided before the acceptance of the offer, or the agreement can become legally binding. An agreement that lasts longer than 18 months is not enforceable under Washington law.
Finally, non-compete agreements in Washington cannot go against the public’s interest. If a non-compete agreement in Washington violates any of the criteria above, the employer could be responsible for covering the employee’s attorney’s fees as per RCW 49.62.080.
A non-compete agreement in Washington generally should not last longer than 18 months. While it can last longer in some situations, a non-compete lasting longer than 18 months is likely to be challenged, and the employer would have to present a clear reason why the non-compete should be longer than 18 months.
If a non-compete agreement in Washington is breached, the statute of limitations within which a lawsuit has to be brought is six years.
Even though there are no specific non-compete agreement geographical limitations in Washington, the restrictions cannot be unduly harsh.
This means that the employer must be able to justify why specific geographic boundaries have been put in place. If they cannot be justified, the agreement might be thrown out.
Download a Washington non-compete agreement template in PDF or Word format below: