The Legality of Non-Compete Agreements in Georgia

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Employers must carefully construct non-compete agreements to ensure enforceability.
Employers must carefully construct non-compete agreements to ensure enforceability. (Image: Büroarbeit - business Frauen im Büro image by Marina Bartel from Fotolia.com)

Under Georgia law, a non-compete agreement will be deemed invalid if any portion of the agreement violates state regulations. This contrasts greatly with other states that allow for the enforceability of any remaining valid portions of an agreement. Careful consideration of several factors offer the only solution to creating an agreement which can be upheld in court.

Scope of Activity

Too many employers seek to incorporate all encompassing language into non-compete agreements. Such terms as "may not work with any direct competitor" have been ruled unenforceable by Georgia courts. To correct this issue, employers must incorporate specific activities which can then be considered proprietary in nature.

Limited Duration

Another common mistake made by employers involves requesting excessive time requirements. Courts have ruled it is unreasonable for a former employer to attempt to prohibit an individual from working in a particular field for several years. Therefore, employers must seek to limit activities to a period of time that can be articulated in court. For example, competition may not occur during a specific competitive bidding period.

Specific Territorial Boundaries

Agreements must stipulate a clearly defined geographic area. Failure to do so leaves the document open to interpretation. Prohibiting competition in an area where the employee previously worked will usually be upheld by the courts.

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