How Does a Noncompete Clause Work in New York State?

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It is quite possible that your employment contract can have a significant impact on the course of your career. This contract dictates more than just your salary and your start date. It can have serious legal implications, such as a noncompete clause. Read on to discover whether your noncompete clause is valid and fair and how a seasoned New York employee contract lawyer at Bell Law Group can help you in determining this.

What is the purpose of a noncompete clause?

Essentially, a non-compete clause in your employment contract is to prevent you from using trade secrets, business practices, or ideas developed throughout your time working at your place of employment to form your own business or join a competing company in the same area. It may also prevent you from working for a competing company for years to come. 

What makes a noncompete clause enforceable?

A noncompete clause is considered valid in New York state if it meets the following conditions:

  • A valid noncompete agreement must not place an unfair time limitation on you.
  • A valid noncompete agreement must not violate New York public policy
  • A valid noncompete agreement must not place unfair geographical limitations on you. 
  • A valid noncompete agreement must be narrowly tailored to the kind of work that you conduct for the employer. 

Notably, New York law notes that employers cannot create a noncompete clause in an employment contract for employees classified as “low wage employees.” That is, if you make approximately $75,000 or less, you cannot be subject to a noncompete clause. However, this does not mean that you cannot be subject to a nonsolicitation provision or nondisclosure agreement. 

How can I determine if my noncompete clause is unfair?

While noncompete clauses are usually enforceable, there are some instances in which they can be classified as overbroad or unfair. Nevertheless, you must understand your right to legal counsel before signing your employment contract. 

If you believe that your noncompete clause violates any of the aforementioned requirements, you should consider retaining the services of a competent New York employee rights lawyer before it is too late. By giving us a call, we can evaluate your case and find the best legal alternatives for you.


If your employer has possibly committed wage and hour violations, you need to hire an attorney who understands all of the applicable state and federal employment laws. At Bell Law Group, PLLC, our attorneys are experienced in private employment claims. We offer a free strategy session and have offices in New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C. To schedule your consultation, call 855-566-2355 or contact us.

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