Kansas Law and Non-Compete Agreements

Kansas Law and Non-Compete Agreements: What You Need to Know

Non-compete agreements are a common tool used by employers to protect their business interests. These agreements prohibit employees from working for a competitor or starting a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving their current job. However, the validity and enforceability of these agreements vary by state. In Kansas, there are specific laws that govern non-compete agreements.

In Kansas, non-compete agreements are generally enforceable if they are deemed to be reasonable in scope and duration. The agreement must also protect a legitimate business interest, such as trade secrets, customer relationships, or confidential information. The reasonableness of the agreement will be evaluated by the court based on its geographic scope, the duration of the restriction, and the nature of the employer’s business.

Kansas courts have consistently held that non-compete agreements that are too broad or restrictive will not be upheld. For example, if a non-compete agreement restricts an employee from working in any capacity in the same industry, it is likely to be deemed unreasonable and unenforceable. Similarly, if the restriction lasts for an overly long period, it may be deemed invalid.

One important factor in determining the validity of a non-compete agreement in Kansas is whether the employee received adequate consideration for signing the agreement. Consideration refers to something of value that the employee receives in exchange for agreeing to the restriction. In Kansas, continued employment alone may not be sufficient consideration. Instead, the employer must offer additional consideration, such as a bonus or a promotion, in exchange for the employee’s agreement to the non-compete.

It is worth noting that there are some professions in Kansas that are exempt from non-compete agreements. For example, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are protected by the Kansas Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act. This law prohibits non-compete agreements that restrict a healthcare professional’s ability to practice medicine within a certain geographic area.

In summary, non-compete agreements are enforceable in Kansas if they are considered reasonable in scope and duration, protect a legitimate business interest, and provide adequate consideration to the employee. Employers should be careful when drafting these agreements to ensure they comply with Kansas law. Employees who are unsure about the enforceability of a non-compete agreement may wish to consult with an attorney.