Non-Compete Agreements in Michigan: Basics You Need to Know

Posted by John Inhulsen | Aug 28, 2023

Non-compete agreements are a common feature in Michigan's employment landscape. These contracts restrict employees from working for competing firms or starting a similar business for a certain period after leaving their current employer. While the utility of non-compete agreements is widely acknowledged, their enforceability and limitations often raise questions. In this blog post, we'll examine the basic principles that govern non-compete agreements in Michigan.

What Constitutes a Valid Non-Compete Agreement?

For employers, non-compete agreements protect proprietary information and customer relationships. For employees, they sometimes serve as a form of job security, particularly when specialized training or access to confidential information is involved. In Michigan, non-compete agreements are generally enforceable if they are reasonable in scope, duration, and geographical limitation. They must also protect a legitimate business interest, such as trade secrets or customer relationships.

Scope, Duration, and Geography

Clearly defining the scope, duration, and geographical reach of a non-compete agreement sets proper expectations for both parties, minimizing potential disputes. In Michigan, broad or excessively restrictive non-compete clauses can render an agreement unenforceable. Courts may either void the agreement or modify it to align with what's deemed "reasonable."

Protecting Legitimate Business Interests

Well-crafted non-compete agreements help employers safeguard their proprietary information, customer base, and investments in employee training. The agreement must specify the business interests it aims to protect. If the clause appears to serve as a blanket restraint on an employee's ability to earn a living, a Michigan court is less likely to enforce it.

Exceptions and Special Circumstances

Being aware of exceptions can help both employers and employees understand the limitations of non-compete agreements. Certain professions in Michigan are exempt from non-compete clauses, including lawyers. Furthermore, if an employee is terminated without cause, the enforceability of a non-compete clause may be challenged.


In Michigan, the enforceability of a non-compete agreement hinges on its reasonableness and its necessity for protecting legitimate business interests. Both employers and employees should be fully aware of these principles before entering into such an agreement.

If you have questions about drafting, enforcing, or challenging a non-compete agreement in Michigan, our experienced legal team at Inhulsen Law is here to help. Feel free to reach out for a consultation at or (616) 747-0000.

About Inhulsen Law

Inhulsen Law is a Michigan law firm serving individuals, families, and businesses in the areas of business law and estate planning.  To learn more call us at (616) 747-0000, or visit our website.

*Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.*

About the Author

John Inhulsen

John Inhulsen specializes in providing strategic legal counsel on business law and estate planning matters, and is consistently recognized by Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America for his work.