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image for Podcast: When Can Non-Competition Agreements Be Enforced Against Independent Contractors?

In this episode of the Employee Survival Guide, Mark explores when can non-competition agreements be enforced against independent contractors and whether they can be voided.   Noncompetition agreements on independent contractors should not be enforced based on the analysis in the episode.

The Employee Survival Guide is a podcast only for employees. We will share with you all the information your employer does not want you to know about and guide you through various important employment law issues. The goal of the Employee Survival Guide podcast is to provide you with critical insights about your employment and give you the confidence to protect your job and career, especially during difficult times.


The Employee Survival Guide podcast is hosted by seasoned Employment Law Attorney Mark Carey, who has only practiced in the area of Employment Law for the past 25 years.   Mark has seen just about every type of employment dispute there is, including the man who lost his voice box and his career, and has filed several hundred lawsuits in state and federal courts around the country, including class action suits.   He has a no frills and blunt approach to employment issues faced by millions of workers nationwide. Mark endeavors to provide both sides to each and every issue discussed on the podcast so you can make an informed decision.


The Employee Survival Guide podcast is just different than other lawyer podcasts! How?   Mark hates lawyer speak used by lawyers and just prefers to talk using normal everyday language understandable to everyone, not just a few.   This podcast is for employees only because no one has considered conveying employment information directly to employees, especially information their employers do not want them to know about.   Mark is not interested in the gross distortion and default systems propagated by all employers, but targets the employers intentions, including discriminatory animus, designed to make employees feel helpless and underrepresented within each company.   Company’s have human resource departments which only serve to protect the employer. You as an employee have nothing!   Well, now you have the Employee Survival Guide to deal with your employer.

Through the use of quick discussions about individual employment law topics, Mark easily provides the immediate insight you need to make important decisions.   Mark also uses dramatizations based on real cases he has litigated to explore important employment issues from the employee’s perspective.   Both forms used in the podcast allow the listener to access employment law issues without all the fluff used by many lawyers.

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For more information, contact our employment attorneys in Connecticut and New York, Carey & Associates, P.C.  at 203-255-4150,

The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship.   Carey & Associates, P.C. makes no warranty, express or implied, regarding the accuracy of the information contained on this website or to any website to which it is linked to.

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Welcome to another edition of the Employee Survival Guide, where you can learn everything your employer does not want you to know about and more. Now, here’s attorney Mark Carey. Hey, it’s Mark here and welcome to the next edition of the employee Survival Guide podcast. Today we’re gonna be talking about when can non competition agreements be enforced against independent contractors? In response to a recent Karen associates PC survey of topics of interest, and employment law, some of our readers asked, quote, are non competition agreements enforceable against independent contractors? A good question. The short answer is in Connecticut, yes, but with some exceptions in some special circumstances, what is a non competition agreement? Non competition agreements are special contracts between employers and their workers, which are prohibit workers from engaging in business activities that compete with their former employers, usually for a fixed period of time, following the end of an employment relationship and usually within a definite geographical area. These agreements are often called restrictive covenants, and they allow employers to prevent a former employee or contractor from earning a living in his or her business after employment. After the employment relationship ends. Courts generally enforce non compete agreements, courts in Connecticut will generally enforce non competition agreements provided there is consideration for the promise not to compete and provided the restrictions are not unreasonable to protect the employers legitimate business interest balanced with the employees interests of working facts, which are courts consider in evaluating the reasonableness of a non competition agreement include the following number one, the duration of the restriction number two, the scope of the geographic restriction number three, the protection afforded to the employer. Number four, the degree of restriction on the employee’s career opportunities, and five, whether the restrictions are in the public’s interest. If even one factor fails the reasonableness test, the non competition agreements could be held to be unenforceable. In Connecticut, as in many states, there are no statutes or regulations that specifically address non competition agreements outside of the medical profession. Whether a non compete agreement is enforceable against an independent contractor is not specifically addressed under Connecticut law. Our courts do not formally distinguish between non competition agreements with employees as opposed to independent contractors. That being said the five factor analysis described above does vary when it’s applied to the independent contractor relationship. When courts analyze the fourth factor, the effect of the non competition agreement has on the workers career opportunities. Our courts must account for the fact that the independent contractors are by definition, expected to serve more than a single customer at a time. That is what makes them independent. Notwithstanding this obvious basis to reject all non competition agreements, as applied to independent contractors, our courts will often find non competition agreements enforceable. For example, non competition agreements were upheld in circumstances where an independent contractor uses their position with the employer to gain the information to set up a competing business for themselves. The rationale for non competition agreements are faulty. The concepts underlying and justifying these restrictive covenants are faulty. One underlying notion that is mis applied to non competition agreements is the freedom of contract. This legal fiction posits that individuals and firms are free to act in the marketplace in their own best interests, and are therefore free to make any lawful agreements they see fit. Unfortunately, for most workers, this freedom is an illusion. The notion that workers who do not want to be bound by a non competition agreement can simply choose to work elsewhere is absurd. Jobs are difficult to find during the best of times. During a global pandemic amid skyrocketing unemployment, locating a good position can be overwhelmingly difficult. If one is restricted from using one’s business contacts, skills and training to function in the market, and in the industry in which one has established a record of experience the task of finding gainful employment becomes insurmountable. In the employment context, the power and resources of the employer, as opposed to the employee is generally so unbalanced that the freedom of contract is a bad joke. While non competition agreements are becoming increasingly common, these restrictions on a person’s ability to work often cause extreme hardship on workers who must find continuous employment within their chosen industry in order to survive and to support their families. Why should an employer who has no legal obligation to employ his workers for any period of time get to dictate to a former employer employee where and how he or she can work? How can such an economically crippling restriction between parties have drastically unequal bargaining power be tolerated by the courts? Today? In a recent article, Mark Carey explored the profound injustice Is restricting employees right to work the article is captioned. COVID-19 cancels all non compete agreements due to impossibility during a pandemic where millions of American workers are unemployed. restricting anyone’s freedom of work is patently unconscionable. While our courts consistently uphold reasonable restrictions on competition, the Connecticut let the state legislature is at last beginning to address the problem directly. And another recent article by attorney Liz sweet. She explains the provisions of the piece of proposed legislation currently under consideration by the Connecticut legislature, labor and public employee Committee. The new proposed legislation sb 906, quote, an act concerning non competition agreements would impose some reasonable limits on employers ability to enforce a non compete agreement as it applies to independent contractors. Sb 906 will prohibit non competition agreements against contractors unless the contractor is being paid over five times the minimum wage or roughly $60 an hour. Well, this proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, in that it prevents non competition agreements from victimizing the lowest paid workers in the marketplace. It does not address the fundamental injustice of these agreements. the legislature’s special treatment of independent contractors under sb 906 indicates a recognition that employees and contractors are not in the same position with respect to these contracts. independent contractors serve more than one master. When it comes to independent contractors. The applicability of non competition agreements becomes quite complex, while courts have recognized an employer’s interest in protecting its trade secrets in goodwill. Through non competition agreements. independent contractor contractors are by definition not bound to a single employer. Although in practice they sometimes are. The term independent refers to a contractors ability to provide goods and services to many businesses at once. Employees on the other hand, are generally obligated to devote all of their productive time and energy to furthering the interests of their employer. Employers face risks when enforcing non compete agreements against independent contractors. There are risks for employers who try to enforce non competition agreements against independent contractors. When an employer imposes non competition restrictions on the independent contractor, it runs the risk of changing the nature of the of its relationship with the worker, where an employer exercises a high degree of control over the work of a contractor. That contractor could be considered a regular employee. imposing a non competition agreement could be construed as evidence of the very control that marks a traditional employment relationship. Thus, some employers sometimes seek to enforce non competition agreements, but are then countersued for employee benefits and wages based on the assertion of control. Under the non competition agreement, employees could incur liability for wages, administrative fines or Workers Compensation benefits when an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor. This fact gives employers pause when enforcing non competition agreements against their independent contractors. Non competition agreements are overreaching in general, while courts in Connecticut will enforce non competition agreements against independent contractors, where they are held to be reasonable is difficult to justify the necessity of these restrictions. While employers often justify the restrictive covenants by asserting the right to protect confidential business information, this argument is irrelevant given the fact that all of an employer’s proprietary information is protected under a trade secret and intellectual property protection statutes for their employers can and do include broad confidentiality and non disclosure provisions in their employment agreements, which provide contractual protections for dissemination of vital company information. It is simply overkill and overreach to also seek to prevent competition from former workers whether they are employees or contractors. The basic answer to the readers question about enforceability of non competition agreements against independent contractors is that they are enforceable against independent contractors, but is slightly more difficult and definitely riskier for employers to enforce such agreements against them. The larger answer is that all non competes are inherently unjust and equitable and should be resisted by employees and contractors alike. If you’d like more information about this topic, or like to hire an employment attorney, please contact Carey and Associates PC at Thank you for listening and enjoy the week.

Tags: employer agreements independent contractors noncompete agreement restrictions employees restrictive covenants