Because non-competition agreements are designed to limit competition or hiring, they may be contracts of adhesion that are unreasonable. The Washington “legislature finds that workforce mobility is important to economic growth and development.” RCW 49.62.005.
Non-competition covenants prohibit or restrain employees and independent contractors from engaging in lawful professions, trades, or business of any kind. RCW 49.62-010. These covenants are void and unenforceable in certain circumstances employers must follow the strict rules in order for these covenants to be considered reasonable and enforceable. For instance, any non-competition covenant that exceeds eighteen months is presumed unreasonable and the party seeking to enforce such an agreement must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the longer duration is necessary to protect its interests.
Furthermore, the noncompetition covenants are also void and unenforceable against independent contractors, unless the independent contractor’s earnings reach certain levels. These protections have also been expanded to include performers, where the provisions restricting use of performance space are now limited to three calendar days.
Lastly, employers are restricted in their ability to prohibit employers and independent contractors from engaging in additional jobs to supplement their income, although certain exceptions apply. As long the employee does not interfere with reasonable and normal scheduling expectations to each employer and his obligations under the law, such as conflicts of interest, the duty of loyalty.