A North Carolina non-compete agreement is a legal contract signed by an employee whose employer wishes to restrict them from pursuing certain employment opportunities upon termination. A non-compete is most useful in situations where an employee has been given access to confidential information, has cultivated relationships with important clients and contractors, and may be a legitimate threat to the employer if they chose to start their own business in the same industry (or join a competitor). In North Carolina, a non-compete must be drafted very carefully if the employer hopes to maintain its enforceability. Should the geographical scope of the agreement be too broad or the time-frame too long, a court of law will likely dismiss the agreement as invalid. To maintain validity, a non-compete agreement must adhere to the following:

  • agreement must be in writing;
  • agreement must be part of an employment contract;
  • agreement must provide valuable consideration;
  • agreement must be reasonable as to time and territory; and
  • agreement must protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.

Laws§ 75-1 (Contracts that restrain trade or commerce are declared to be illegal.)  § 75-4 (Contracts must be in writing.)

Non-Compete Limit – No set time limit; must be “reasonable.” (Typically 2 years.)

Non-Solicitation Limit – No set time limit; must be “reasonable.” (Typically 2 years.)