It is a frequently held misconception that restrictive covenants are not enforceable in the State of Ohio… but they are enforceable. These restrictions are often included in employment agreements as well as other transactional agreements, such as purchase agreements.
Restrictive covenants are enforceable to the extent their scope is reasonable to protect an owner’s interest in their business or professional practice. The use of such covenants must reasonably protect the business owner’s interest, but at the same time not be so restrictive as to prevent the person being restricted from being able to earn a livelihood. These two competing interests are to be accounted for so that a reasonable balance is struck. Generally, and depending on the industry, such covenants include restrictions in time as well as distance. They also commonly include restricting the employee from soliciting clients or patients of the employer and from soliciting the employer’s staff. A restriction requiring the duty to maintain the confidentiality of business information in conjunction with Ohio’s trade secrets law is also an important restriction often included in employment agreements.
It is important to obtain legal advice in both the drafting and reviewing of these covenants in any agreement. The consequences that result from the enforcement of these covenants may come as a surprise to the uninformed. Contact the attorneys at Thomas Law Group for assistance.