The answer? Anyone could.
The purpose of a non-compete from an employer’s point of view, is to “protect the investment.” If you spend years learning the tricks of the trade, making client contacts etc. – you could destroy your employer by creating the exact same business – maybe that costs slightly less to the customer. So employers ask employees to sign them, in order to protect the information they shared during your employment.
But why would an employee object? We all have to earn a living, and sometimes moving far away just to do what you like best, is not an appealing option – so employees want the freedom to work when, where and for whom they please, when they please.
We most often see non-compete agreements however, in the following professions:
- Professional Athletics
- Service Industries where secrets are the keys to the trade (anything from secret client lists to recipes)
- Government Contractors
- Consumer / Retail Organizations – from car dealerships to high-end clothing stores
They could be anywhere – if you have an employment contract, you likely have a non-compete. Now whether it is binding depends on the state, and the language used – so if you are out looking for a new job, be careful – they are everywhere!