Can they really prevent me from working in this area for that long?
Non-Competition and Nondisclosure Agreements
The Barton Law Firm helps employees understand the scope and enforceability of non-competition agreements, negotiates non-competition agreements, and defends employees who are sued for breaches of non-competition agreements.
Here are legal citations and information you might find helpful:
Washington State case law governs how covenants not to compete / non-competition
agreements are interpreted and enforced.
WPI 301.01-301.11 (Contracts);
Labriola v. Pollard Group, Inc., 152 Wn.2d 828, 835, 100 P.3d 791 (2004);
RCW 49.44.210 (Prohibition of NDAs that prevent disclosure of sexual assault or harassment).
Washington State recently passed ESHB 1450, a comprehensive non-compete law which goes into effect January 1st, 2020.