October 26, 2021

Volume XI, Number 299

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October 26, 2021

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October 25, 2021

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Part 2--Looking at Amazon Non-Competes From Kentucky Perspective

In our last post, we began looking at a non-compete agreement Amazon has been imposing on warehouse workers, even temporary workers. We’ve specifically been looking at how the agreements might fare under Kentucky law. Having offered some brief comments on the non-compete agreement from the standpoint of several factors of Kentucky law, let’s look at a couple other factors.

First of all, and we’ve already touched on it a bit, the Amazon non-compete agreement in question is acknowledged to be quite broad, which can be an issue in Kentucky, as elsewhere. As a general rule, the more a non-compete agreement is narrowly tailored to protect the employer’s interests, the more likely it is to be enforced. By contrast, an unnecessarily broad agreement may be deemed unreasonable. 

Another important factor Kentucky judges consider is the degree of hardship a non-compete agreement imposes on a former employee. As we mentioned before, Amazon’s agreement—if strictly enforced—could potentially bar former employees from working for many businesses on a potentially global scale. It isn’t clear exactly how far the language would stretch, but the question for a court is going to be: is this degree of restriction on former Amazon employees reasonable?

A final factor to consider is the impact the agreement would have on the public. Generally speaking, the more a non-compete agreement restricts public access to goods and services and the more necessary the goods and services are, the less it is likely to be enforced. In this case, it is hard to say how significantly Amazon’s non-compete agreement would impact the public, though it is probably fair to say that this factor would not be as significant as some of the others we’ve considered here.

Fortunately, Amazon has just recently removed the non-compete agreement from its contract of hourly workers, claiming that it never enforced the agreement on them anyway. Whatever the case may be, businesses should always work with an experienced attorney to make sure their non-compete agreements meet legal standards and will be effective in court. 

© 2021 by McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume V, Number 107
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