The concept behind restrictive covenants is simple – employees agree that for a reasonable period of time following the termination of employment with their employer, they will refrain from competing with that employer. So long as the temporal and geographic restrictions are reasonable and so long as the restriction is not harmful to the employer or against public policy, restrictive covenants are generally enforceable. But what happens when an employee refuses to sign a restrictive covenant? Can an employee be fired for failing to do so?
Courts, including Connecticut, are split as to this particular issue. One position taken by courts is that because the essence of at-will employment is the ability of an employer to fire an employee at any time, for any reason, an employer has the right to terminate an employee for refusal to sign a non-compete. Conversely, some jurisdictions have held that employees who are terminated for refusing to sign a non-compete may maintain a wrongful termination cause of action against their employers.
The lawyers at Maya Murphy, P.C., are experienced and knowledgeable employment and corporate law practitioners and assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and elsewhere in Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to your non-compete agreement or would like to discuss any element of your employment agreement, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.