Case Study : Chef Curry 's Covenant Essay
If chefs are considered professionals, Alabama courts will only enforce a noncompetition agreement when an employer has a protectable interest, the restriction is reasonably related to that interest, the restriction is reasonable in time and place, and the restriction imposes no undue hardship upon the employee. All four of these elements must be found, otherwise the non-compete clause will be held unenforceable.
1. The protectable interest element is likely not satisfied because many potentially protectible interests were formed/learned by Chef Curry prior to her employment with Viola.
Using Alabama case law, courts find interests are protectable when an employer has a “substantial right in its business sufficiently unique to warrant the type of protection contemplated by [a] noncompetition agreement,” when employees are in positions “to gain confidential information, access to secret lists, or to develop a close relationship with clients,” or when an investment in an employee through time, resources, and responsibility is so great to warrant it protectable. James Roberson & Penhall Co., Inc. v. C.P. Allen Constr. Co., Inc., 50 So. 3d 471, 475 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010) (internal quotations emitted). See Eastis v. Veterans Oil, Inc., 65 So. 3d 443, 450 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010) (where a sales associate was the prime contact person for the company, allowing…