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Noncompete Laws by State

Authors: Anthony J. Oncidi and John P. Barry, Proskauer Rose, LLP

Employers seeking to protect their legitimate business interests may require their employees to sign a noncompete agreement. However, there is no federal or uniform law governing the interpretation of noncompetition provisions in employment contracts across the country. Rather, noncompete clauses or agreements are governed by state law and, thus, what is enforceable in one state may be prohibited in another. As a result, an employer needs to be aware of the noncompete laws in each state in which it employs workers. This chart covers the following key requirements and enforceability considerations:

  • Whether a noncompete agreement is generally enforceable in a particular state;
  • Industry-specific restrictions, with the exception of the prohibition of noncompetes for lawyers;
  • Notification requirements prior to commencement of employment;
  • Whether at-will employment is sufficient consideration for a noncompete at the time of hire;
  • Whether continued at-will employment is sufficient consideration for a noncompete that is executed during employment; and
  • Whether a state allows a court to modify a noncompete if a portion of the noncompete is void or unenforceable, such as by rewriting the offending provisions (reformation) or striking offending provisions (blue pencil).
    • In "Blue Pencil" states, courts may use discretion to rewrite offending (typically overbroad) provision(s) so that they conform to state law. These states are marked as "Yes" in the Court Modification column.
    • In "Strict Blue Pencil" states, courts may strike the offending provision(s) and assess enforceability based on whatever remains of the provision. A court may not rewrite or add language to the provision to make it enforceable. These states are marked as "Limited" in the Court Modification column.
    • In "No Blue Pencil" states, courts may void the entire noncompete if any part does not comply with state law enforceability standards. These states are marked as "No" in the Court Modification column.

In some states, the law on any of the above points may be unclear. The law may be unclear because:

  • There is no statute or court decision that directly addresses this issue;
  • There may be relevant decisions, but the outcome did not definitively decide the issue; or
  • There may be conflicting decisions on the topic.

A cell marked with "N/A" signifies that the state's law does not address a particular requirement or enforceability consideration.

The Employment Law Manual's state Terms of Employment and Employee Communications sections offer detailed information regarding each state's noncompete laws.

Due to its large size, this chart is presented in a pop-up overlay. To view the chart in full size, simply click anywhere on the thumbnail image below. Then navigate the chart by clicking and dragging. To close the chart, click on the "X" in the upper-right hand corner.


State Employee Noncompetes Enforceable? Excluded Employees Preemployment Notice Requirement At-Will Employment as Consideration for Noncompetes? Court Modification
At Time of Hire Continued Employment
Alabama Yes
  • Doctors;
  • Certified professional accountants;
  • Veterinarians; and
  • Physical therapists
Noncompetes signed prior to beginning employment are invalid Yes Yes Yes
Alaska Yes N/A No Unclear Unclear Yes
Arizona Yes
  • Broadcast employees; and
  • Covenants not to compete between physicians are to be strictly construed
No Yes Yes Limited
Arkansas Yes
  • Licensed medical professionals
No Yes Yes Yes
California No N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Colorado Yes
  • Physicians
No Yes Yes Yes
Connecticut Yes
  • Broadcast employees;
  • Security guards; and
  • Limitations on covenants not to compete for physicians
No Yes No Limited
Delaware Yes
  • Physicians
No Yes Yes Yes
District of Columbia Yes
  • Broadcast employees
No Yes Yes, if followed by "substantial" period of employment Limited
Florida Yes
  • Mediators
No Yes Yes Yes
Georgia Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
Hawaii Yes
  • Technology business employees
No Yes Undecided by state courts Yes
Idaho Yes
  • Those who are non-key employees
No Yes Yes, as long as noncompete does not exceed 18 months Yes
Illinois Yes
  • Broadcast employees; and
  • Low-wage workers
No Yes, if followed by "substantial" period of employment Yes, if followed by "substantial" period of employment Yes
Indiana Yes N/A No Yes Yes Limited
Iowa Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
Kansas Yes N/A No Yes Yes, if followed by "substantial" period of employment Yes
Kentucky Yes N/A No Yes No Yes
Louisiana Yes
  • Automobile salespersons
No Yes Yes Limited
Maine Yes
  • Broadcast employees; and
  • Effective September 19, 2019, low-wage workers
Yes, effective September 19, 2019 Yes Yes, if followed by "substantial" period of employment Yes
Maryland Yes Effective October 1, 2019, low-wage workers No Yes Yes, if followed by a significant period of employment Limited
Massachusetts Yes
  • Physicians/psychologists;
  • Nurses;
  • Social workers;
  • Broadcast employees;
  • Exempt employees under the FLSA;
  • Undergraduate and graduate internships, whether paid or unpaid;
  • Employees who have been terminated without cause or laid off; and
  • Employees who are aged 18 and under
Yes, noncompete agreements must be provided with formal offer or 10 business days before the commencement of employment Yes No Yes
Michigan Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes N/A No Yes No Yes
Mississippi Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
Missouri Yes
  • Employees who provide secretarial or clerical services
No Yes Yes Yes
Montana Yes, in limited circumstances N/A No Yes No Yes
Nebraska Yes N/A No Yes Yes No
Nevada Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
New Hampshire Yes
  • Physicians
  • Effective September 8, 2019, low-wage workers
Yes, must be provided prior to acceptance of job offer Yes Yes Yes
New Jersey Yes
  • Licensed psychologists
No Yes Yes Yes
New Mexico Yes
  • Health care professionals
No Unclear Unclear Unclear
New York Yes
  • Broadcast employees
No Yes Yes Yes
North Carolina Yes N/A No Yes No Limited
North Dakota No N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ohio Yes N/A No Yes Yes Yes
Oklahoma No N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Oregon Yes
  • On-air talent restrictions;
  • Nonexempt employees;
  • Home care workers; and
  • Effective January 1, 2020, personal support workers
Yes, at least two weeks' advanced written notice required Yes No Yes
Pennsylvania Yes N/A No Yes No Yes
Rhode Island Yes
  • Physicians; and
  • Effective January 15, 2020:
    • A nonexempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act;
    • Undergraduate or graduate students that participate in an internship or otherwise enter a short-term employment relationship with an employer, whether paid or unpaid, while enrolled at an educational institution;
    • Employees aged 18 and under; and
    • Low-wage employees.
No Yes Unclear Yes
South Carolina Yes N/A No Yes No None
South Dakota Yes
  • Physicians (although questionable as it is has only be determined by one state court)
No Yes Yes Yes
Tennessee Yes
  • Physicians (in certain circumstances)
No Yes Yes, if there is continued employment for an appreciable amount of time Applies a rule of reasonableness
Texas Yes
  • Physicians (in certain circumstances)
No No No Yes
Utah Yes Broadcast employees (in certain circumstances) No Yes Yes Unclear whether Utah Code Ann. § 34-51-201 means whole noncompete or just that portion
Vermont Yes
  • Barbers and cosmetology students (limited restrictions)
No Yes Yes Unclear
Virginia Yes N/A No Yes Yes No
Washington Yes
  • Broadcast employees
Yes, effective January 1, 2020 Yes No Yes
West Virginia Yes
  • Physicians
No Yes No Yes
Wisconsin Yes N/A No Yes Yes No
Wyoming Yes N/A No Yes No Yes