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JPEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5106
Experience:  Experience as both corporate in-house counsel and private counsel
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I have taught martial arts in Washington state for more than

Resolved Question:

I have taught martial arts in Washington state for more than 5 years. I recently was recruited by a martial arts gym 30 miles from my school. I was hired as a coach and sales rep and was required to close down my school and signed a non compete agreement. the non compete will not allow me to compete "directly or indirectly" with this martial arts school for 1 year after employment is terminated within Washington and ORegon state!
I signed the agreement... and showed up to work, but the emplyment agreement stated that i had to meet a sales minimum to "qualify for my salary."
The employment agreement also required me to be at work on certain days for certain periods of time.
I asked to be paid for my time and was refused due to "not making my sales goals."
I have never returned to work.
I have been offered another position teaching Martial arts but was told that my old employer will enforce the "non compete" agreement.

Can he enforce the non compete if i was never paid for my services?
Is it legal to require me to attend work and pay me only commissions and nothing if sales goals arent met?
And lastly... is a non compete for 1 year within 2 states enforceable for a martial arts school?

Please help
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  JPEsq replied 5 years ago.

For a non compete to be enforceable, it has to be reasonable in both geographic scope and time frame, and it has to protect a legitimate business interest.


Here the geographic scope of two entire States does not sound at all reasonable, and I doubt that could be enforced.


The bigger issue though, is what does the non compete protect? A non compete cannot be used to just eliminate competition... it must actually serve a legitimate business purpose. In this case, it is possible that you could gain the loyalty of the students, then split off and take the students with you.


But you only worked for one day? If that is the case, it does not sound like it could be enforced.


Another issue is how far away the new school is.


BUt aside from all of that, you signed a non-compete based on a proposed salary. They cannot take that away and still expect the non-compete to be enforced. Very doubtful given the circumstances that it would be enforced.


As for your pay, they have to pay you at least minimum wage for hours worked, even if it is only a commission only job. No matter what, you have to be paid minimum wage. So, they definitely owe you for hours worked, even if you agreed to work for commission only.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did work for 1 month... but have not and will not solicit current students. Is it safe for me to take another job... or should i have something sent certified to my former "employer" to see how he responds?
Expert:  JPEsq replied 5 years ago.

I see. Well, I can't tell you whether he will try to sue for breach of contract or not. People sue for things they can't win all the time.


Even at 1 month, I doubt the agreement would be enforced. As for sending something to your former employer, that can work both ways. Generally, if you are on decent terms, it is better to try to resolve it. You do have a wage claim against him... so you could use that as leverage.



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