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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118157
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I have a very strong non compete

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I have a very strong non compete and need an employment lawyer to review my current contract early this week! Contract states I can't work in the industry for 12 months. Next sentence states that I fully understand that not working in the industry will not prevent me from earning a living for my family. Also that if I do pursue work in the industry thy I am responsible or all legal fees Please let me know if you can recommend a Houston based employment lawyer that can immediately review my contract. Thank you xxxx xxxxx

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am afraid that we are forbidden by site rules from making personal referrals, but one of the largest and top employment law firms in Houston is Chamberlain Law.

If all your contract states is you cannot work in the industry for 12 months and is not more specific such as what jobs you cannot perform, then the Texas Courts are likely to find it is not reasonable and for a non compete to be enforced in Texas it must be found by a court to be reasonable in the scope of the restriction to only what the company has a legitimate interest to protect. It must also be reasonable in time scope, which it is. Finally, it must be reasonable in geographic scope, meaning it cannot reasonably restrict you from working in an entire industry in the entire country in most cases.

They can make you legally responsible for legal fees if you violate the agreement.

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Law Educator, Esq. and 4 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello J.D.
thank you for your quick response. I think I might have over simplified the language of my non compete.
Being that, I have attached a copy of my contract. Please review section 6 and feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if this changes your previous response.

Thank you again

Thank you for your reply, I received the non-compete this morning.

The issue with this non-compete, if they are narrowly restricting your ability to take employment only to protect the specific interests of the employer, this would be enforceable in Texas. When they say you cannot deal in "any way" with those areas, this is quite broad and this would likely be able to be attacked based on the fact the agreement violates the reasonableness of scope of interest the employer needs to protect. For example, the way this was written, it would prevent you from taking a job stocking shelves for alarm parts or even selling Televisions at a local electronics store, this would be overly broad.

An over broad clause does not void the agreement in Texas. Under Texas law, they follow a "blue pencil" rule, where the court is to modify and fix any overly broad clause in the contract, so if you were to go to court with this, they would not likely enforce it that broadly and would narrow down the scope to engaging in the same type of conduct as this current employer regarding those components they mentioned. However, the clause would be enforceable in Texas to stop you from engaging in the same type of business as this current employer in selling/installing alarms or video security systems.

The clause about you agreeing you could still earn a living in another field is really not required in any laws or court cases, but it is designed to prevent you from arguing that you cannot earn money in any other manner, which is a defense that many employees will raise to these non-competes.