Non-compete agreements are binding in almost every state, except California where they are prohibited in most cases. If you have an employment contract
that contains a non-compete clause and the employer is breaching its employment contract with you, then you would have to provide the company with notice that it is in breach and give them a reasonable time to cure the breach. The breach must be a material breach, meaning one that without which you would not have entered into the contract. If the company fails to cure the breach, then you would have an argument that their breach and failure to cure invalidated the contract and/or gave you a right to rescind the contract, thus, invalidating the non-compete clause.
Non-compete clauses, to be upheld, must also be reasonable in the scope of employment, geographic scope and time frame. Scope of employment means they cannot restrict you to all employment, but employment only in the area which you performed for them. Geographic scope depends upon the nature of that employer's business or industry, meaning that if the employer is a global competitor they may have grounds to restrict you in geographic areas where they actually compete and those areas may be a bit broader. As far as time frame, to be valid the non-compete must restrict only for a reasonable time and generally the courts have held that no more than 2 years is reasonable in most cases. When these agreements are found to be reasonable, they are generally upheld by the courts, although some courts may modify parts of the agreement that are not reasonable, while some courts may invalidate the whole agreement if there is a part that is unreasonable.
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