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Enforceability of non compete clause/agreement under WA state employment laws

Spokane, WA |

I was layed off about six month's ago and had to sign a non-compete clause stating that I couldn't work for another background screening agency in the state of washington for 1 year. I've heard that washington's law for non complete clauses can only be for a 6 month period legally no matter what the length of time on the clause was written up - is this true. Do I have to wait the full year? thank you

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Attorney answers 2


Non-competes are limited to "a reasonable time and geographic space" under Washington law. Depending on the circumstances, a year could easily be reasonable.


A year could also NOT be reasonable. Terms like "reasonable" are not precise, and thus result in considerable litigation. There are a number of questions raised by your question: 1) did you sign the agreement AFTER you were laid off? 2) were you paid anything extra for the noncompete -- more than what you would otherwise have been paid?; what industry are you in? Etc.

You should see a qualified employment lawyer IMMEDIATELY - go to for a list of lawyers who represent employees throughout the state. Good luck.