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Are Non-Competes Enforceable? [State Laws]

Updated on March 8th, 2023

A non-compete is legal and enforceable in some manner for all 50 states. For employment purposes, a non-compete is NOT enforceable in California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia.

A non-compete is enforceable in every state for:

  • Sale of a business;
  • Dissolution of a partnership;
  • Invention; or
  • Sharing confidential information (trade secrets).

Attorneys (prohibited)

Attorneys are prohibited from entering into a non-compete agreement in every state. This rule is administered by the American BAR Association Rule 5.6 (Restrictions on Right to Practice).

Are Non-Competes Enforceable? (State Laws)

StateEmploymentSale of a Business
 AlabamaEnforceable to safeguard a protectable interest (§ 8-1-190).
 AlaskaEnforceable if it is reasonable (Data Management, Inc. v. Greene (1988)).
 ArizonaEnforceable if it protects a legitimate protectable interest (Bryceland v. Northey (1989)).

Prohibited for television employees, radio employees, and attorneys (ARS § 23-494).

 ArkansasYes, if the employer has a protectable business interest and the covenant is limited and reasonable (Ark. Code § 4-75-101).
 CaliforniaNo (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §16601).

Colorado statute expresses a strong public policy against non-compete covenants, and the few exceptions described in the statute must be narrowly construed (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-2-113)

 ConnecticutEnforceable if it protects a business interest and is reasonably limited in time, scope, and restrictions (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-14p).
 DelawareEnforceable, but courts closely scrutinize restrictive covenants (McConnell v. Emory (1989))
 FloridaEnforceable if reasonable in time and scope (§ 542.335).
 GeorgiaEnforceable if “reasonable in time, geographic area, and scope of prohibited activities” (O.C.G.A. § 13-8-53(a)).
 HawaiiEnforceable except for employees of a tech business (Act 158),
 IdahoEnforceable to protect legitimate business interests (§ 44-2701).
 IllinoisEnforceable if reasonable in time and scope and supported by adequate consideration (Reliable Fire Equip. Co. v. Arredondo (2012))
 IndianaYes, if reasonable (Clark Sales and Service Inc. v. Smith (2014)) but not for attorneys (Prof’l. Cond. 5.6) and physicians (Ind. Code § 25-22.5-5.5-2).
 IowaEnforceable if reasonable (Lamp v. American Prosthetics, Inc. (1986)).
 KansasEnforceable if reasonable (Safelite Glass Corp. v. Fuller (1991)).
 KentuckyYes, if reasonable (Charles T. Creech, Inc. v. Brown (2014)). Not enforceable for attorneys (Ky. R. Sup. Ct. 3.130(5.6)).
 LouisianaEnforceable only in specific situations (RS 23:921).
 MaineEnforceable only if reasonable and designed to protect legitimate business interests (§ 599-A).
 MarylandEnforceable except for low-wage workers (§ 3-716).
 MassachusettsEnforceable if reasonable (All Stainless, Inc. v. Colby (1974)).
 MichiganYes, if reasonable (§ 445.774a),
 MinnesotaEnforceable if supported by consideration and no broader than necessary in scope or duration (Safety Center Inc. v. Stier (2017)).
 MississippiEnforceable if reasonable (Cain v. Cain (2007)).
 MissouriYes, if reasonable and no more restrictive than is necessary (Healthcare Services v. Copeland (2006)).
 MontanaNo (MCA § 28-2-703).
 NebraskaYes, if reasonable (Polly v. Ray D. Hilderman (1987)).
 NevadaAgreement is enforceable if it does not “impose any restraint that is greater than is required for the protection of the employer for whose benefit the restraint is imposed” and does not impose “undue hardship” on the employee (NRS § 613.195).
 New HampshireYes (ACAS Acquisitions Inc. v. Hobert (2007)).
 New JerseyYes, if the agreement is reasonable, necessary to protect a legitimate business interest, and does not impair public interest (Ingersoll-Rand Co. v. Ciavatta (1986)).
 New MexicoYes, if reasonable (Nichols v. Anderson (1939)).
 New YorkYes, if reasonable and necessary to protect legitimate business interests (BDO Seidman v. Hirshberg (1999)).
 North CarolinaYes, if agreement is based on valuable consideration, reasonable in terms of time and territory, and aligns with public policy (Kinesis v. Hill (2007)).
 North DakotaEnforceable in limited circumstances (Chapter 9-08).
 OhioYes, if reasonable and not injurious to the public (Raimonde v. Van Vlerah (1975)).
 OklahomaNo (Okla. Stat. tit. 15 § 217, § 219A)
 OregonEnforceable in limited situations (ORS 653.295).
 PennsylvaniaYes, if reasonable (Sidco Paper Company v. Aaron (1976)).
 Rhode IslandYes except against interns, minors, and low-wage employees (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-59-3).
 South CarolinaEnforceable if reasonable and supported by valuable consideration (Standard Register Co. v. Kerrigan (1961)).
 South DakotaYes, but not for healthcare providers (§ 53-9-11) and attorneys (S.D. Codified Laws § 16-18 app. R. 5.6).
 TennesseeEnforceable if reasonable and in accordance with the public interest (Allright Auto Parks, Inc. v. Berry (1966)).
 TexasYes, in certain circumstances and if reasonable and supported by valuable consideration ( Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 15.50(a)).
 UtahYes, if reasonable, supported by consideration, in good faith, and “necessary to protect the goodwill of the business” (Kasco Services Corp. v. Benson (1992)).
 VermontYes, if “reasonably tailored in time, geography, and scope to protect a legitimate employer interest” (Systems Software, Inc. v. Barnes (2005)).
 VirginiaYes, except in relation to low-wage employees and lawyers (VA Code § 40.1-28.7:8 & Rule 5.6).
 WashingtonEnforceable if reasonable (RCW 49.62.020).
Washington D.C.Only in extremely limited circumstances ((D.C. Law 23-209. Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020).
West VirginiaEnforceable if “no greater than is required for the protection of the employer, does not impose undue hardship on the employee, and is not injurious to the public” (Gant v. Hygeia Facilities Foundation, Inc. (1989)).
 WisconsinEnforceable “only if the restrictions imposed are reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer or principal” (§ 103.465).
 WyomingEnforceable if reasonable in duration and geographic limitations and not counter to public policy (Hassler v. Circle C. Resources (2022)).