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Updated July 04, 2022

A New Hampshire non-compete agreement restricts an employee from performing the same or similar work in a competitive manner. Any restriction must include a specific period and geographical area that is deemed reasonable. Non-competes are prohibited to low-wage employees and physicians and cannot be presented after accepted employment.

Legally Enforceable?

Yes , a non-compete is legally enforceable in New Hampshire with the following requirements :

  • Low-wage employees are prohibited . A low-wage employee is prohibited from entering a non-compete. Low-wage is defined as less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal minimum wage ($580/week or $30,160/year). ( § 275:70-a )
  • Presented at the offer of employment . A non-compete must be presented to an employee prior to the acceptance of a job offer. If afterward, the non-compete will be deemed unenforceable. ( § 275:70 )

Physicians (exempt)

Physicians are exempt from entering any type of non-compete agreement. If entered into, the agreement will be deemed void and unenforceable.

Source: § 329:31-a

Attorneys (exempt)

Attorneys are exempt from entering into an agreement that prohibits them from practicing law.

Source: Rule 5.6 (New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct)

Continued Employment

If continued employment is offered to an employee as part of a non-compete it is deemed as sufficient consideration .

Source: Smith, Batchelder & Rugg v. Foster (1979)

Maximum Term

5 years have been deemed reasonable by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.

Source: Moore v. Dover Veterinary Hospital (1976)

What is Reasonable?

“A covenant not to compete should last no longer than necessary for the employees’ replacements to have a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate their effectiveness to customers.”

Source: Concord Orthopaedics Prof. Assoc. v. Forbes (1997)

Blue Penciling

A non-compete may be reformed if the employer can show it exercised “good faith in the execution of the employment contract.”

Source: Smith, Batchelder & Rugg v. Foster (1979)