Written by attorney Robert James Wood Jr.

Texas Noncompete Agreements: The "Right to Work" Myth

I routinely hear from people, even lawyers, that noncompete agreements are unenforceable in Texas. Why? "Because Texas is a `right to work' state."

Texas is a "right to work" state, that is true. However, that means that an employee need not be a member of a labor union. It has nothing to do with noncompete agreements.

The truth is, noncompete agreements are enforceable in Texas, if the following conditions are met:

  1. An "otherwise enforceable agreement" exists.

  2. The covenant not to compete is "ancillary" to the "otherwise enforceable agreement."

  3. The restrictions are reasonable in scope.

That sounds more confusing than it is. An experienced labor and employment lawyer can help you understand these concepts. Each agreement must be judged on its own--there is no "one size fits all" answer to the question of whether a noncompete agreement is enforceable in Texas. All that can be said with certainty is that they can be enforceable, if properly worded, supported by adequate consideration, and reasonable in scope.

But "right to work" has nothing to do with noncompete agreements.

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