In a recent decision, Star Direct, Inc. v. Del Pra www.wisbar.org/res/sup/2007ap000617.htm the Wisconsin Supreme Court determined that where an employment contract contains restrictive covenants which address separate specific interests of employers, the fact that one of those covenants is overbroad and therefore illegal does not necessarily render other covenants unenforceable.
The contract in that case contained provisions restricting the employee from engaging in business similar to that of the employer, restricting him from contacting past and present customers of the employer, and requiring the employee to hold certain information derived from the employer confidential. The court determined that the covenant restricting the employee from engaging in similar business was overbroad, but that the other covenants addressed separate legitimate concerns of the employer which would remain enforceable. Therefore, those covenants are divisible from the invalid covenant.
The decision is significant, as it seems to be based on a new construction of Wis. Stats. Sec. 103.465, which by its terms indicates that where one portion of a restrictive covenant is invalid, other portions are as well. It is not unusual for restrictive covenants to be prepared in such a fashion that they jointly address various concerns. The decision emphasizes to the need to carefully draft restrictive covenants so that they separately address identifiable employer interests and are not intertwined to the extent that invalidity of one results in the invalidity of others.