Does Ohio Enforce Non Compete Agreements

If you are a business owner or an employee working in Ohio, you may have heard about non-compete agreements. These agreements are common in many industries and are often used to protect a company`s confidential information, trade secrets, and client base. But does Ohio enforce non-compete agreements? The answer is yes, but there are some restrictions in place.

Under Ohio law, non-compete agreements are enforceable, but only if the agreement is reasonable in scope, duration, and geographic area. The agreement must also protect a legitimate business interest of the employer, such as preventing an employee from taking trade secrets or client lists to a competitor. To be valid, the non-compete agreement must be in writing and signed by the employee.

In recent years, there has been a push in Ohio to limit the use of non-compete agreements, particularly for low-wage workers. In May 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law that prohibits employers from requiring low-wage employees to sign non-compete agreements. The law defines low-wage employees as those who earn less than $15 an hour or $31,200 annually.

The new law is aimed at protecting workers in industries such as food service, retail, and hospitality, where non-compete agreements have been used to limit job opportunities and restrict workers` ability to earn a living. The law does not apply to certain professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers, who are typically subject to more stringent non-compete agreements.

While the new law offers some protection for low-wage workers, employers in Ohio can still require non-compete agreements for higher-paying jobs. However, the agreements must be reasonable in scope and duration and must protect a legitimate business interest of the employer.

In conclusion, Ohio does enforce non-compete agreements, but only if the agreement meets certain requirements and is considered reasonable. The recent law aimed at protecting low-wage workers from non-compete agreements demonstrates that there is a growing concern about how these agreements are being used in Ohio and across the country. As a business owner or employee, it is important to understand the limitations and restrictions surrounding non-compete agreements in Ohio.