A reader writes:
My granddaughter has just received a new contract of employment. She works part time as a waitress in a local pub/restaurant. I am concerned about a clause in it that reads: “You agree that in the event of termination of your employment, you will not have any involvement with any other licensed premises within a three-mile radius for a minimum of two years.”
Can this be enforced on her? She is looking to work part-time in another restaurant nearer to our home and only 2 miles from where she is now working.
Where on earth is your granddaughter working that a restaurant is using contracts with employees, let along bothering with a non-compete clause?
It’s very rare in the U.S. for employees to have contracts at all, and even rarer for waitresses.
In any case, the non-compete clause probably isn’t enforceable, because courts generally rule that the employer must show that the restriction is reasonable and necessary to protect them against unfair competition. That’s unlikely to apply to a waitress. Additionally, if she was already working there when she was asked to sign this contract – as opposed to the contract being presented as something she needed to sign before she can be hired — then most courts will invalidate the agreement because there was no “consideration” to her for signing it (meaning some payment or other benefit to her).
Your granddaughter should ask her manager why they’re asking this of her, and why they’d object to her waitressing somewhere else in the future. And if the manager holds firm, then she’ll need to decide whether she wants to take a stand, or just sign it with the intent of ignoring it and assuming it’s unenforceable.