Nailing down a noncompete

Nailing down a noncompete

What time frame is valid for a noncompete clause in an associate's contract? What distance from my practice do I use as a boundary?
Jul 01, 2008
By staff

The allowable terms are different in different parts of the country, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. For example, California doesn't recognize noncompete agreements except in the case of a practice sale. In Oregon, noncompete agreements are invalid if the departing employee isn't paid a predetermined amount per year while the agreement is in effect. Most of the time it's state case law and precedent, not official statutes, that decide the legitimacy of these noncompetes, Dr. Salzsieder says.

State laws aside, noncompete contracts in general run three to five years after termination or practice sale. Distances average from 2.5 miles for an urban practice to 100 miles or more for a rural practice. To be sure your noncompete clauses are enforceable, talk to a lawyer familiar with the guidelines in your area.

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