As noted above, CNCs are used in four general contexts, including: (1) employment agreements, (2) franchise agreements; (3) partnership agreements; and (4) business sales agreements. Although a common thread of ‘reasonableness’ connects courts’ tests of the legality of CNCs in all four settings, many states view CNCs in employment agreements more harshly than CNCs in franchise agreements. These courts generally view CNCs in franchise agreements to be legally equivalent to those in business sales agreements. In so doing, such courts embrace the rationale that employees need more protection from CNCs than business sellers and franchisees.

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