In the July/August issue of the Connecticut Lawyer magazine, attorney Joseph Blyskal has the first of a two-part article on the state of restrictive covenants in employment agreements in Connecticut. I’ve talked about this several times before (most recently earlier this summer), but the Connecticut Lawyer article is recommended reading as well (it’s behind a paywall).
It’s worth reviewing a few key points that can be derived from the article.
First, the author concedes that there has been a lack of controlling cases from any of the key appellate courts lately. He readily admits that the recent cases do nothing to change the “welll-established standards governing enforceability of restrictive covenants in employment agreements.”
And what is that standard? Over 50 years old, it remains a fact-specific inquiry that “requires the actual impact of particular arrangements on competition [to] be examined to determine whether they have a pernicious effect on competition and lack any redeeming virtue.”
The article then goes on to discuss how various cases apply the factors that courts use to decide whether or not restrictions are reasonable. Employers are fairing in the middle on a cursory review of the cases. Where the restrictive covenants are in writing and are not overreaching, courts have upheld them, but too often employers try to enforce overbroad provisions or, in one instance, try to create restrictions after-the-fact.
Another takeaway from the article is the observation that claims are also being made lately on a related law: The Connecticut Uniform Trade Secret Act (CUTSA). The author teases that this will be discussed further in part two, which will be published later this month.
All told, for those interested in the subject, the article provides a good recap of the state of affairs for restrictive covenants.