Hello,I signed a noncompete clause as a condition for employment with a window cleaning company. I was paid as an independent contractor, by the jjob - using my own tools, and paying my own taxes on my income at the end of the year. I no longer work for that company. I have heard that noncompetes for independent contractors like this are not valid. Also, there was no compensation for the noncompete mentioned. Is this noncompete valid? It seems reasonable as to scope - 1 year, 50 mile radius. This company would never even know I was in business, but I want to know what the legal position would be. Thanks,Nick
State/Country relating to question: Texas
I got a legal opinion from someone. They didn't seem to be knowledgeable specifically enough and only told me not to worry about it, that it wouldn't be worth it to sue.
Welcome and thank you for your question!Please clarify: what, exactly, does the non-compete clause say?
4.3 Nick agrees not to set up in business as a direct competitior of x co. within a radius of 50 miles of x co. austin located at x address for a period of 12 months or 1 year measure of time following the expiration or Termination of this agreement.
4.4 Nick agrees to pay liquidated damages of up to $100,000 if any violation of this paragraph is proved or admitted.
Earlier in the paragraph it limits use of research and confidentiality of trade secrets learned in employ with the company.
I am really hoping it doesn't come down to semantics, that there is a clear line which states that an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee, cannot be held to a noncompete in this case. Thanks,
Thank you. An independent contract can be held accountable to a non-compete agreement. It's not different than any other contract a person would sign.If you received work/assignments from the company after signing the agreement, the agreement is valid and enforceable.Since the agreement uses the term "direct competitor" that would suggest that you just cannot bid on the same jobs as the other company.It didn't say you can't do any work -- you just can't directly compete in that one area.It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things. What are your options now?If you wish to continue this conversation, click on the Continue Conversation link. If you are satisfied that I have answered your question, then please rate the answer with a four or a five so that I receive credit for assisting you. Positive ratings are the only way I receive credit for assisting you today.IF you feel the need to click either "Helped a little" or "I expected more," then do not rate me (not yet, anyway!). Instead, reply to me using the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button. Specify what additional information you need and I will be happy to continue further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Thanks, ~~ J.B.
Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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