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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
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I am inquiring about a non-compete clause that I signed upon

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I am inquiring about a non-compete clause that I signed upon employment. It states that for 18 months, I cannot work within a 50 mile radius. I worked in Evansville, IN and would like to take a job in Owensboro, KY. Where I worked Evansville does not have any clients in Owensboro mainly because it is aXXXXX I am a tennis teacher and think, first of all, 18 months is way too long to be unemployed. Secondly, because it is across state lines and my former club has no connections, clients or willingness to attach itself to Owensboro tennis in any way, shape or form the 50 mile radius is overbroad; it is approximately 40 miles away but an hour's drive. I asked my General Manager if he would ask the 2 owners to grant me permission to work in Owensboro and he sent me a text that read (without mentioning names), "yes, both Tom and John said you could work in Owensboro." So, I thought it best to get that in writing, as my 1 boss changes his mind daily. I was told by the GM to be patient. Does the GM's text mean anything relevant since they both verbally have agreed to it, even though it's not in writing? Is 18 months too long? Is 50 miles too broad?

Thank you for your questions. Please allow me to answer all three of your questions in order listed.

You asked:
Does the GM's text mean anything relevant since they both verbally have agreed to it, even though it's not in writing?
I apologize but until it is in writing, the text, while it may create evidence of an agreement, as yet there is no agreement since no names were mentioned. A text, by itself, is not a contract and while it can provide additional evidence, it is not by itself enough to claim that an agreement took place. Try to get this in writing if you can.

Is 18 months too long?
Not necessarily. Any non-compete is governed by a variety of factors including length of time, distance radius, and scope of limitation of employment. The courts tend to find most contract under 2 years to be perfectly reasonable unless the scope of limitation of employment is too broad. Here, if the limitation is purely on tennis based positions, it is likely considered to be reasonable.

Is 50 miles too broad?
Not at all. A 50 mile radius is generally upheld when also reviewed against the time an scope of employment. Some non-competes reasonably can uphold limitations on full counties, states, or even national limitations. A 50 mile limit for 18 months would not be considered unreasonable by most courts.

Good luck.

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