The South Carolina non-compete & non-solicitation agreement limits an employee’s ability to conduct business with other parties both while employed and following the expiration of their employment. With an agreement in place, the employer ensures that their business interests are secure by enforcing a period and geographic range in which the employee is prohibited from engaging in competitive business activity. For example, an employer may request that, for a two (2) year period, an employee does not work for any like businesses located within a fifteen (15) mile radius. The agreement also specifies a period during which the employer is prohibited from soliciting customers, other employees, etc.
Laws – No statutes. However, as referenced in the case of Faces Boutique, Ltd. v. Gibbs, 455 S.E.2d 707, 708-09, South Carolina courts have determined that an agreement will only be enforced under the following conditions:
- The agreement is needed to protect the legitimate interests of the employer
- The geographic and time limitations are reasonable
- It is not oppressive and unduly harsh in preventing the employee’s efforts of earning a livelihood
- It is consistent with public policy
- The employee was offered valuable consideration when the contract was signed
Non-Compete Limit – No Statutes.
- Geographic Limitations – Court cases have determined the following:
- The geographic limitation should be confined to the area where the employee worked (Oxman v. Sherman, 239 S.C. 218, 122 S.E.2d 559 (1961)
- A reasonable territorial restriction should not cover an area larger than what is needed to protect the employer’s business interests (Stringer v. Herron, 309 S.C. 529, 424 S.E.2d 547 (Ct. App. 1992)
- Limits – Courts have found a three (3) year time restriction to be reasonable (Rental Uniform Serv. v. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 301 S.E.2d 142 (1983))
Non-Solicitation Limit – No Statutes.
- Geographical Limitations – No exemplary cases.
- Limits – A two (2) year time restriction was deemed reasonable (Delmar Studios of the Carolinas v. Kinsey, 233 S.C. 313 (S.C. 1958))