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In the diverse and dynamic industries of Arizona, employment contracts often incorporate certain clauses known as restrictive covenants. These include non-disclosure, non-compete, and non-solicitation agreements. The primary aim of these agreements is to safeguard the business interests of employers. However, the fairness and reasonableness of these agreements can lead to disputes and are frequently challenged in court. It’s crucial for every Arizona employee to grasp the essence and implications of these restrictive covenants.

Key Elements of Fair Restrictive Covenants

For a restrictive covenant to be considered enforceable and fair, it must clearly outline:

  • The Scope of Restrictions: What exactly is restricted by the covenant? This could range from sharing specific types of information to engaging in certain types of work post-employment.
  • Geographic Limitations: Where do these restrictions apply? Is it within a certain city, state, or nationwide?
  • Duration: How long will these restrictions last? A few months, a year, or indefinitely?

If a covenant is excessively broad in its scope, geographic reach, or duration, it might be deemed unreasonable and, therefore, unenforceable. Should there be any confusion or concerns about the clarity or reasonableness of a restrictive covenant you’ve signed, it’s advisable to consult with an employment law attorney who specializes in this area.

Overview of Common Restrictive Agreements

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

Also referred to as confidentiality agreements, these contracts are designed to protect sensitive business information. By signing an NDA, an employee agrees not to disclose trade secrets or other confidential company information to unauthorized parties. Should an employee share protected information with outsiders, they would be violating the agreement.

Non-Solicitation Agreements

These agreements prevent employees (or former employees) from poaching clients, customers, or other employees, thereby avoiding direct competition with their current or previous employer. Typically, non-solicitation agreements remain in effect for a certain period after the employment ends, often up to one year.

Non-Compete Agreements

Similar to non-solicitation agreements, non-compete clauses aim to prevent employees from entering into or starting a competing business during and after their employment term. The definition of what constitutes “competition” can vary, making the specifics of these agreements often subject to legal dispute.

For instance, if an employee leaves a tech company and uses trade secrets to help a rival company innovate, this could be considered a breach of a non-compete agreement. However, what is deemed competitive behavior is frequently a grey area and a matter for legal interpretation.


Restrictive covenants serve to protect businesses but must balance this protection with fairness to employees. They should not unduly limit an individual’s ability to work or move on in their career. Arizona employees facing unclear or seemingly unreasonable restrictive covenants should seek legal advice to understand their rights and options. Remember, the enforceability of these agreements depends on their reasonableness in scope, geographical boundaries, and duration.

J. Horowitz
J. Horowitz

J. Horowitz leverages over two decades of experience as a seasoned employment law attorney in Arizona to offer insightful freelance writing on the same subject. After a successful career advocating for fairness and justice in the workplace, J. now dedicates his expertise to writing comprehensive articles, blog posts, and thought leadership pieces that illuminate the complexities of employment law.