The following are some general principles with regard to the laws in Arizona on restrictive covenants. They are not intended to be exhaustive or necessarily apply to all cases or circumstances.
“A restrictive covenant – whether a covenant not to compete or an anti-piracy agreement – is enforceable so long as it is no broader than necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate business interest. The burden is on the employer to prove the extent of its protectable interest.” Hilb Rogal and Hamilton Co. v. McKinney, 190 Ariz. 213 (App. 1997).
“Restrictive covenants which tend to prevent an employee from pursuing a similar vocation after termination of employment are disfavored. Such contractual provisions are strictly construed against the employer.” Amex Distributing Co. v. Mascari, 150 Ariz. 510 (App. 1986).
“When the restraint is for the purpose of protecting customer relationships, its duration is reasonable only if it is no longer than necessary for the employer to put a new man on the job and for the new employee to have a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate his effectiveness to the customers.” Id. at 518.
“Merely informing customers of one’s former employer of a change of employment, without more, is not solicitation.” Alpha Tax Services, Inc. v. Stuart, 158 Ariz. 169, 172, 761 P.2d 1073, 1076 (App.1988).
A court cannot “add terms or rewrite provisions” of restrictive covenants in employment agreements. Valley Medical Specialists v. Farber, 194 Ariz. 363, 372, 982 P.2d 1277, 1285 (1999); Varsity Gold, Inc. v. Porzio, 202 Ariz. 355, 359, 45 P.3d 352, 356 (App. 2002) (“By simply authorizing a court to rewrite unreasonable restrictions, an employer may relieve itself of crafting a reasonable restriction with the added benefit that departing employees may adhere to an onerous covenant”).