Hi folks. Thanks for stopping by. My name is Greg Robinson and today I’d like to discuss with you the law of non-compete agreements in the state of Missouri.
In Missouri, the courts engage in this balancing process. They balance the interests of the employer in protecting its trade secrets and customer contacts, against the interest of the employee having mobility between employers and to provide for his or her family. The Missouri Supreme Court has stated that employers have a legitimate interest in engaging a highly trained workforce without the risk of losing customers and business secrets after an employee leaves his or her employment.
The Missouri Supreme Court has also said that employees have a legitimate interest in having mobility between employers and to provide for their families and to advance their careers. So Missouri courts balance these competing interests by enforcing non-compete agreements in limited circumstances. Non-compete agreements will be enforced if they are reasonable and, according to the Missouri Supreme Court, that reasonability is if it is no more restrictive than as necessary to protect the legitimate interest of the employer. Consequently, to be no more restrictive, it must be narrowly tailored geographically and temporally.
Missouri Supreme Courts have stated that restrictive covenants will not be enforced to protect employer against mere competition. Restrictive covenants will only be enforced to protect an employer against undue competition and to protect the employers trade secrets and customer contacts.
In determining whether to protect customer contacts, the courts of Missouri have stated that they will look at the quality, frequency and duration of an employee’s exposure to an employer’s customers. Even when restrictive covenants are reasonable in space and time, covenants not to compete are only enforceable if their scope is reasonable to protect the employer’s legitimate interests without unduly restricting the employee’s freedom to move between employers and to provide for his or her family.
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