It may seem like eons ago that your employer asked you to sign a non-compete agreement. It may have been when you were first hired, or perhaps it was a few years later when you had already been with the company for a while. Either way, you likely gave it little thought. Many people make the mistake of signing whatever their employer puts in front of them, assuming that it’s just another in the seemingly endless pile of paperwork. But now you’ve decided to move on to another job and HR is saying you can’t accept – that the non-compete you signed prohibits you from doing so.
Non-compete agreements are designed to protect your employer’s business interests. Their goal is generally to prevent valued employees from going to a competitor, or to prevent trade secrets from being shared. But not every non-compete is well crafted or reasonable, and many states don’t consider them legally enforceable. This means that if you fight the agreement you signed, there’s a good chance that you will win — especially if you have an experienced non-compete attorney representing you.
Though non-compete contracts are legal agreements, that does not always mean that they are enforceable or ethical. In fact, President Biden recently called attention to their questionable nature when he signed an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission to curtail their unfair use. Though this does not make them illegal, it did shine a light on some of the bullying tactics that their use often represents and the unreasonable terms that they may contain.
There are several ways that an experienced attorney can help you get out of a non-compete agreement that you’ve signed. Grounds for the contract to be discarded include:
- Unreasonably long period of time or unreasonably large geographic area outlined within its terms
- Overly broad terms that unreasonably prohibit employee from working for another employer (or for themselves)
- Contract does not protect the employer’s business interests and instead is punitive
- No consideration was provided in exchange for signing contract.
- Accepting new job does not violate terms of agreement
- Employer breached terms of employment agreement, thus voiding the non-compete
Every situation involving a non-compete contract is different, so evading its terms requires robust knowledge of the applicable law. For information on how we can help, contact our law firm today to set up a time for us to discuss your situation.