Non-Compete Agreements in Kentucky: What You Need to Know

Kentucky is one of the many states that allow employers to require their employees to sign non-compete agreements. These agreements prohibit employees from working for competitors or starting their own competing business for a certain period of time, usually one to two years, after leaving their current employer.

While non-compete agreements can be beneficial for businesses in protecting their investments in training employees and creating proprietary information, they can also be restrictive for employees in finding new job opportunities. Therefore, it is important to understand the laws surrounding non-compete agreements in Kentucky.

Validity of Non-Compete Agreements in Kentucky

Under Kentucky law, non-compete agreements are generally valid and enforceable as long as they are reasonable in scope and duration. The scope refers to the geographical area and type of work covered by the agreement, while the duration refers to the length of time the employee is prohibited from competing with their former employer.

In determining reasonableness, Kentucky courts consider factors such as the nature of the employer’s business, the employee’s access to confidential information, and the employee’s ability to earn a living without violating the agreement. It is important to note that non-compete agreements that are deemed too restrictive may not be enforceable.

Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in Kentucky

To be enforceable, non-compete agreements in Kentucky must meet certain requirements. First, the agreement must be in writing and signed by both the employer and the employee. Second, the agreement must be supported by valid consideration, which means the employee must receive something of value in exchange for signing the agreement.

If an employee violates a non-compete agreement, the employer may seek an injunction to prevent the employee from continuing to work for a competitor or starting their own competing business. The employer may also seek damages for any harm caused by the violation.

Exceptions to Non-Compete Agreements in Kentucky

There are certain exceptions to non-compete agreements in Kentucky. For example, non-compete agreements may not be valid if the employee was terminated without cause or if the employer breached the employment contract.

In addition, the Kentucky Uniform Trade Secrets Act allows employees to use general knowledge, skills, and experience gained while working for an employer in new employment, even if it involves competing with their former employer.


Non-compete agreements can be a valuable tool for businesses, but they must be carefully crafted and reviewed to ensure they are reasonable and enforceable under Kentucky law. If you are an employee who has been asked to sign a non-compete agreement, it is important to understand your rights and seek legal advice if necessary. Similarly, employers should work with an experienced attorney when creating and enforcing non-compete agreements.