How Do Noncompete Clauses Work?

Even low-skilled workers have been subjected to noncompete clauses. The FTC has banned them, but business groups are challenging that ban.

An employee stands at the desk of another employee while they look at a tablet together.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

“My family operates an upscale Italian restaurant, and our employees are paid much more hourly than comparable establishments. We hire college grads, dedicate a great deal of time to training by certified hospitality educators, who cover everything from understanding the menu, to proper grooming, how to conduct yourself as a professional server and related skills.

“All restaurant owners face the same problem: hiring, training, and then the employee jumps ship for a similar restaurant, often for as little as a dollar more an hour. I have never used an actual signed employment contract, but wonder if I can have a noncompete clause, limiting an employee from working in a similar type of a restaurant within, say, 50 miles? Thanks, ‘Luigi.’”

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H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.
Attorney at Law, Author of "You and the Law"

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California's Kern County District Attorney's Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, "You and the Law." Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. "I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to help. When a reader contacts me, it is a gift."