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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 110442
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I just got a job as a Administrative Assistant Home Inspection

Customer Question

I just got a job as a Administrative Assistant for a Home Inspection Company. I received a contract with restrictive covenants stating I cannot seek or take employment from a similar company for two years after termination. Of course all information and records are own by the company and not to be shared etc. In addition there is a clause stating that I agree that to a liquidated damage amount of $50,000 for each violation.
Now is is not a very high paying position so I am a little taken aback with the language.
Is this a contract that I should sign?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Under NJ law an employer may use a restrictive covenant/non-compete agreement only when the employer is seeking to protect a legitimate business interest. Being an administrative assistant/secretary type employee, to prevent such an employee from going to another company for two years is excessive UNLESS your employer proves you have access to information and knowledge that you can take to a competitor and use against this employer. The employer would have to prove that they are sharing confidential information and knowledge with you, regardless of the documents themselves, that once you learn you cannot unlearn and can use against this company in competition. If the employer can prove that, the non-compete would be enforceable.
I would at least think carefully about the contract, unless you know you have the ability to get work in industries other than what your employer is in, since the agreement can only protect the employer from you getting employment with an actual competitor in the same industry. So you could go be an administrative assistant for any company in any other type of industry. If you can get work in some other industry and can work for any other type of industry employer, then signing the agreement is not a big deal.

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