We here in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. are often asked about the enforceability of a covenant not to compete under either Connecticut or New York law. As many Fairfield County residents work in New York, we thought it appropriate to give a quick summary of the two approaches to the issue. The short answer is that Connecticut and New York law are similar, but not the same.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has identified five factors to be considered in determining the enforceability of a non-compete: (1) length of time of the restriction; (2) the geographical area covered; (3) the fairness of the protection accorded to the employer; (4) the extent of the restraint on the employee’s opportunity to pursue an occupation; and (5) the extent of interference with the public interest. Connecticut law does not require that all of these factors militate against enforceability of the non-compete. The five-prong test is disjunctive—one factor may be sufficient to invalidate the covenant not to compete.
Under New York law, a restrictive covenant is “rigorously examined” and only enforced if it is reasonable in terms of time, space, or scope, and not oppressive in its operation. Enforceability depends on whether the covenant is reasonable in time and geographic area weighing the need to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests against the employee’s concern regarding the possible loss of livelihood. Injunctive relief, while not uncommon, is not automatic but rather turns on the peculiar facts of each case.
The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.
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