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I am a Nurse Practitioner and signed a non-compete agreement

with a private doctor's office...
I am a Nurse Practitioner and signed a non-compete agreement with a private doctor's office. The agreement restricts my ability to work in a specific type of medical field and prevents me fro soliciting customers for a period of 1 year after I leave the practice. However, I am also classified as an "at will" employee and do not have an employment contract with the Doctor. The Doctor has reneged and refuses to pay me a percentage of the supplement sales and this dispute has caused working conditions to become very difficult. Considering, the Doctor has violated her written promise to pay the additional compensation for the supplement sales, could this be a lawful reason to break the non-compete agreement?
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
10/7/2013
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,431
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines.

Are the payment provisions located in the same document that contains the non-compete agreement?

Do you have any written guarantee of these percentage payments at all?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

They are contained in 2 separate documents, the non-compete and the employment offer letter, however they were signed together on the same day. The employment offer letter does state in writing that I will receive the percentage payments.

An offer letter is not a contract, so technically it is not legally binding. It is really nothing more than a statement of terms of "at will" employment, meaning that the employer can legally alter the agreement at any time, with or without your consent.

So, if the employer suddenly stated "from this point forward you will no longer receive the percentage" that would be a legal change to "at will" terms of employment and would not give you a basis for challenging the non-compete.

However, if the employer simply refused to pay you for [percentages you had already earned, that could be used as a basis to quit, obtain unemployment and when you went to work with another employer, fight the use of the non-compete against you with a doctrine called the "doctrine of unclean hands."

You would need to document that you'd made a demand for owed percentages. If the employer however pays you what you were owed, but makes the payment system going forward one that doesn't pay the percentages, that would be a legal change to "at will" terms and wouldn't allow for a challenge to the non-compete.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX If I were get fired without cause, does the non-compete survive and remain in effect?

That will depend on the non-compete. There isn't any state or federal law that makes it so that termination without cause invalidates a non-compete.

The non-compete itself would have to state that it was only valid if you resigned or were terminated for cause.

Otherwise, the non-compete would remain in effect.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,431
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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