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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11289
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am based in Cincinnati, OH and have signed a non-compete

Customer Question

I am based in Cincinnati, OH and have signed a non-compete with my current employer, also based in Cincinnati, OH. The term of the non-compete is 1 year and the geographic limitation appears to be the United States. I have am interested in a position with another company in a similar field which would likely be deemed a competitor. My current position is in operational support and the prospective position would be in intentational business expansion. I would be undertaking business development in markets which my current employer does not conduct business, however the prospective employer is US based. Would this be in violation of the current non-compete?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.
In Ohio, a non-compete agreement will generally be enforceable if "reasonable." In determining reasonableness, courts will look at the following factors:
- Whether the employee is the employer’s sole contact with the customer;
- Whether the employee has knowledge of confidential information or trade secrets;
- Whether the covenant is intended to prevent unfair competition or all competition;
- Whether the covenant “seeks to stifle the inherent skill and experience of the employee;”
- Whether the benefit to the employer is disproportional to the detriment to the employee;
- Whether the covenant acts as a “bar to the employee’s sole means of support;”
- Whether the employee’s skill and “talent” was developed during the employment; and
- Whether the employment covered by the agreement is “incidental” to the “main employment.
The problem is that even if you can argue that one or more of these factors apply, none of that will prevent you from getting sued. It simply gives you a potentially viable defense in the event that you are sued. A lawsuit can cost thousands of dollars to defend, and so a "victory" in court may not wind up being much of a victory at all.
So, first you need to evaluate the liklihood that your employer will find out that you are working for a competitor. If the new job is very far away, there is a good chance they may never know and therefore never bring a lawsuit in the first place. But if you think they may find out, you may want to consider being proactive rather than breaching the agreement and just sitting back, hoping not to get sued. Being proactive would entail hiring a local attorney to negotiate a "buyout" from your non-compete. Essentialy the attorney would explain the reasons why the non-compete would not be enforceable in court but offer a sum of money on your behalf in exchange for a release from the non-compete. The amount of money is up to you and your employer to negotiate, but perhaps they would be willing to accept a small sum--a sum that would be much smaller than the legal bills you would incur in defending against their lawsuit, at least. See here to locate an attorney in your area to pursue this approach: http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestate/employment-law-employee/ohio
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Was I able to answer your question? Please let me know if I can provide any clarification....