Am I really bound by a noncompete clause?

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Non-compete clauses are legal contracts between an employer and an employee that restrict the employee’s ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving their current employment. In North Carolina, non-compete clauses are generally enforceable as long as they are reasonable in terms of time, geographic scope, and the nature of the employer’s business.

However, there are some exceptions and limitations to non-compete clauses in North Carolina. For example, non-compete clauses are not enforceable against certain types of employees, such as independent contractors and certain medical professionals. Additionally, non-compete clauses may be unenforceable if they are too broad or if the employer breaches the employment agreement.

But, in some cases, a court may be able to “fix” a contract that is unenforceable by severing or modifying the unenforceable provision while leaving the rest of the contract intact. For example, if a non-compete clause in an employment agreement is overly broad and therefore unenforceable, a court may modify the clause to make it more reasonable in terms of time, geographic scope, and the nature of the employer’s business. Alternatively, the court may choose to sever the unenforceable clause from the rest of the contract.

If you have questions or concerns about a non-compete clause in North Carolina, it’s best to consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can provide you with specific legal advice based on your individual circumstances.

Will Blackton is a business lawyer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can reach Will at or (919) 636-5979.

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