In Missouri, non-compete agreements are valid only if they are carefully restricted because they are restraints on trade and commerce . More precisely, at the core of non-compete law, a Court will examine whether an employer’s interest in protecting internal information/trade secrets/confidential information is carefully restricted. It is impossible to say categorically when a given clause is carefully restricted. Instead, the inquiry turns on the facts of a given agreement. Provided that the employer is able to show the existence of a protected interest, then the non-compete agreement must be reasonable both in the (1) length of the restriction and (2) scope of the restriction.
Although non-compete agreements tend to favor the employee, non-solicitation agreements often favor the employer. A non-solicitation agreement and/or confidentiality agreement usually requires that the employee not disclose confidential information relating to the employer after the employee leaves. Examples of confidential information include pricing information, customer contacts, and product specifications.
It is important to make sure that a clause labeled “non-solicitation” is not actually a “non-compete” provision. Indeed, just because something is termed non-solicitation does not necessarily mean it functions solely to protect confidential information; it may start to encroach into the non-compete territory.