We have previously discussed the fact that non-compete clauses often appear in hiring agreements or contracts for doctors, salesman, retailers, etc. But what about that great meal you had last night at your favorite restaurant? Can the chef who prepared that great meal move down the street, open her own restaurant, and serve the same dishes? Maybe and maybe not.
Big business leaves no stone unturned….or maybe no stone unprotected! Many such employment agreements prohibit departing chefs from taking or using recipes in their next gourmet food business. Are these agreements legal? They can be but must be analyzed like any other non-compete agreement. Does the agreement protect a valid business interest? Is the restriction greater than it needs to be to protect the former employer’s business interest? Does the agreement effectively prevent the departing chef from finding gainful employment?