What You Need to Know About Non-Compete Laws By State

Every employee should know state non-compete laws before signing any non-competition agreement. Here’s everything you need to know about non-compete laws by state.

Non-compete laws vary widely by state. Some states enforce agreements depending on contract terms, while other states prohibit non-competition contracts entirely. States enforcing non-compete laws are more likely to honor an arrangement if it contains reasonable terms.

Related: Implied Employment Contracts & Wrongful Termination in California

What are Non-compete Laws?

Non-compete laws legally prohibit an employee from competing with a former employer after leaving the company. Non-competition agreements often require former employees to refrain from sharing:

  • Trade secrets,
  • Specialized training,
  • Commercial relationships or contacts with existing clients, customers, patients, or vendors,
  • Client goodwill, and/or
  • Confidential company information or sensitive data.

Many state courts frown upon non-compete agreements because contract terms may deprive former employees of the right to earn a living. Many states possess strict non-compete laws and may void a signed non-compete agreement to protect an illegally affected former employee.

The validity of a non-compete agreement may depend on the contract’s designated:

  • Area,
  • Time,
  • Definition of competition, and
  • Valid consideration.

Courts are more likely to enforce a non-compete agreement if terms regarding the area, time, and definition of competition are limited and more reasonable. For example, a court may enforce a non-compete agreement preventing a former employee from starting a business in the same locality but not in another state.

Valid consideration means the employee must receive something in exchange for promising to abstain from future competition.

The job the employee will be starting is often considered sufficient for valid consideration. However, continued employment may not be acceptable in some states if the employee signs the non-compete agreement while already employed.

Related: What Is an Employee Non-Compete Agreement in California?

Non-Compete Law Permittance and Exemptions by State

Each state has unique regulations and exemptions regarding non-compete laws:


State If Permitted Exemptions If Continued Employment is Sufficient Consideration
Alabama Yes Professionals (doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, etc.) Yes (pre-amendment)
Alaska Yes n/a Undecided
Arizona Yes Broadcasters, limited physicians  Yes
Arkansas Yes Certain Professionals (medical workers, social workers, veterinarians, etc.) Yes
California No (except for trade secrets) n/a n/a
Colorado Yes  Physicians Yes
Connecticut Yes Broadcasters, security guards, limited physicians Yes in certain circumstances
Delaware Yes Physicians  Yes
District of Columbia (D.C.) Largely no (as of 03/16/2021) n/a n/a
Florida Yes Mediators, physician specialists (where county exclusive)  Yes
Georgia Yes n/a Yes
Hawaii Yes Employees in technology sector Yes


Yes Non-”key employees” (employees without high levels of information, influence, etc.) Yes (limited to 18 months if no additional consideration) 


Yes Broadcasters, government contractors, physicians, low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold) 

Yes (if employment duration is sufficient)

Indiana  Yes n/a Yes
Iowa Yes Franchisees who do not renew Yes
Kansas Yes Accountants (limited exceptions) Yes
Kentucky   Yes n/a No
Louisiana Yes Auto salesmen, real estate broker licensees (certain requirements) Yes
Maine Yes Broadcast industry employees, low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold)  Yes
Maryland Yes Low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold), (as of 10/01/2020) Yes



Broadcasters, physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, FLSA non-exempt employees, student employees, employees under 18 Yes if before 10/01/2018, no if after 10/01/2018
Michigan Yes n/a Yes
Minnesota Yes n/a No
Mississippi  Yes n/a Yes
Missouri Yes Secretaries (limited), clerks (limited) No (must be combined with something else)
Montana Yes n/a No
Nebraska Yes n/a Yes


Employees paid solely on an hourly basis, exclusive of any tips of gratuities (as of 10/01/2021)

Yes (pre-amendment)

New Hampshire


Physicians (as of 08/05/2016), low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold), (as of 09/08/2019)


New Jersey Yes In-house counsel, psychologists Yes
New Mexico Yes Limited exemptions for healthcare practitioners (as of 07/01/2015) Yes, likely
New York Yes n/a Yes
North Carolina Yes Physicians (certain requirements) No
North Dakota No n/a No
Ohio  Yes n/a Yes
Oklahoma No n/a n/a



Home health care workers (salary threshold differs before and after 01/01/2022)


Pennsylvania Yes n/a No

Rhode Island


Physicians,  employees 18 or younger, student employees, FLSA non-exempt employees, low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold), (as of 01/15/2020) Yes per Superior Court, undecided in RI Supreme Court
South Carolina Yes n/a No
South Dakota Yes n/a Yes
Tennessee Yes Physicians (in certain circumstances) Yes, if employer substantially meets  consideration of the agreement
Texas Yes Physicians (in certain circumstances) No
Utah Yes Broadcasters (in certain circumstances) Yes
Vermont Yes Beauticians and cosmetologists (by their schools) Yes
Virginia Yes Low-wage workers (must meet wage threshold), (as of 07/01/2020) Yes



Broadcasters (in certain circumstances), low-wage workers


West Virginia Yes n/a No
Wisconsin  Yes n/a Yes
Wyoming Yes n/a No

All information is accurate as of March 28, 2022. Enforceable terms of non-compete agreements differ by state. Many states also require employees to meet specialized requirements to qualify for a non-compete exemption. Rules and exemptions are subject to change and may vary by state.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about non-compete laws, get your free consultation with one of our most qualified attorneys today!