Texas cases dealing with the enforceability of noncompete agreements have long held that “industry-wide” restrictions are overly broad. In a recent case from the Waco Court of Appeals, the court applied that rule to a concrete situation.
The covenant not to compete applied to the “pet supply manufacturing and distribution industry.” The employee contended that this restriction was so broad as to constitute an invalid industry-wide exclusion. The court of appeals disagreed, holding: “[B]ased on the terms of the Agreement, [the employee] would not be precluded from working as a dog handler and groomer, as he did prior to being employed by [the employer]. We conclude that the terms of the Agreement do not amount to an industry-wide employment exclusion and are not unreasonably broad in scope of activity.”
The prohibition against industry-wide exclusions is well known. This case sheds a little light on what would not constitute such a restriction.