Contracts – Restraint on Employee’s Rights to Enter Competing Business – Partial Enforcement of Restraint Indivisible by Its Own Terms

A provision in defendant’s employment contract stated that if he ceased to be employed by plaintiff for any reason, he would not “for a period of ten years thereafter” enter into a competing business. The trial court denied plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief against defendant’s violation of this restriction. On appeal, held, reversed, one justice dissenting. An employer can obtain partial enforcement for a reasonable time of an employee’s agreement not to enter into a competing business, even though the restraint as agreed upon by the parties is unreasonable and is not made divisible by its own terms. Fullerton Lumber Co. v. Torborg