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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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If I signed a non compete clause with my current employer 5+

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If I signed a non compete clause with my current employer 5+ years ago, is there a time limit to it's validation? How about if my duties changed based on what I signed the original no compete on? BotXXXXX XXXXXne is, a new manager has been hired and it's not going to work, but I have an offer from a competing company. If I accept thier offer, can I be sued? Thank you

Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

Non-competes are good the duration of your employment regardless of how long you work for an employer or whether your job duties change. The law considers your continued employment as consideration for the enforceability of a non-compete.

A non-compete agreement will only be enforced against a former employee if the agreement meets all three prongs of the test laid out by the courts. The law requires that for a non-compete clause to be enforceable, an employer must show reasonableness, in that (1) it has a legitimate business interest sufficient to justify enforcement of the non-compete clause; (2) that the clause does not cause the former employee undue hardship; and (3) that enforcement of the clause will not be harmful to the public.

Under this three part test, courts consider several factors when determining whether a non-compete agreement is reasonable, including: (i) how long the restriction lasts and the geographic area that the restriction covers, (ii) whether the employee was the sole contact with customers, (iii) whether the employee possesses confidential information or trade secrets, (iv) whether the covenant operates to bar the employee's sole means of support, (v) whether the covenant seeks to stifle the inherent skill and experience of the employee, (vi) the likelihood that the employee can find other employment if the restriction is enforced and (vii) whether the benefit to the employer is disproportional to the detriment of the employee.

Courts are very fact-specific in their interpretation of the non-compete agreement and the facts and circumstances involved in the matter. Litigation of these matters quickly become costly. You very well may have one or several of the factors stated above in your favor.

However, unless you are willing to take the matter to court to have the contract ruled invalid or the prospective employer is willing to hire you in spite of this agreement and risk the litigation by your current employer, you'll not truly know if the employer can enforce its agreement. In short, only a court can definitively tell you whether the non-compete is enforceable, but these are the factors that would be considered by a court.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.


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