Wisconsin Non-Compete Agreement Attorneys in Madison and Milwaukee, WI
With increasing frequency, employers require their employees to sign non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitation agreements or other agreements which restrict an employee’s ability to work post-employment. Whether an employer requires an employee to sign such an agreement as a condition of beginning the employment relationship, or during the employment relationship, the enforceability of the non-compete agreement is subject to a complicated set of statutory factors and the interpretation of a series of court decisions. Before signing a non-compete agreement, Wisconsin workers should review the agreement with an attorney to understand their rights and ensure their future livelihood.
After leaving a job, a worker may feel their non-compete agreement is unfair or unwarranted and the worker may want to challenge it legally. Although state courts will generally reject a weak non-compete agreement, Wisconsin businesses that carefully draft restrictive covenants do successfully enforce them. Before you end your employment or take any steps to compete against a current or former employer, it is important to review the terms of your non-compete agreement with an attorney who has expertise in this complicated field.
Non-Compete Agreement - Wisconsin Law Requires Careful Language
A Wisconsin non-compete agreement must be accompanied by some “consideration” to the employees, including financial benefits or retaining your employment. In addition to requiring “consideration,” non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements must pass a five-element test set out in section 103.465 of the Wisconsin Statutes:
- The employer must have a reasonable protectable interest in limiting competition;
- The non-compete agreement must contain a reasonable time limitation;
- The non-compete agreement must contain a reasonable geographic limitation;
- The restrictions in the non-compete agreement must be reasonable to the employee;
- The restrictions in the non-compete agreement must be reasonable to the general public.
If the non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreement fails to meet any of these elements, the agreement may not be enforced under Wisconsin law. Generally, an employer can only protect its customer base and confidential information. Any restriction, however, must not be any broader than the employer’s actual protectable interest. If you are subject to a non-compete agreement whose terms appear to be unenforceable under Wisconsin Statute section 103.465, you have the option to renegotiate the terms of the agreement or ask a court to declare the terms of the non-compete agreement unenforceable.
We are experts in Wisconsin non-compete agreements and can help you explore your options.
If your employer asks you to sign a non-compete agreement, make sure you understand exactly what the contract actually means before you sign it. Our attorneys navigate the complex questions arising in non-compete agreements and explain them to you, in plain language. If you are leaving your employment, or your former employer is attempting to enforce a non-compete agreement against you, the attorneys at Hawks Quindel can help you negotiate a resolution to the conflict or litigate the enforcement of the non-compete. To speak with a Madison non compete agreement attorney, call (800) 610-0040 or (608) 257-0040; to speak with a Milwaukee non compete agreement attorney, call (800) 236-3348 or (414) 271-8650, or send us an email.