How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116718
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am helping a friend start a business. He is a physical therapist

This answer was rated:

I am helping a friend start a business. He is a physical therapist working for PT company. When he joined the company they shared with him that ownership would be part of the plan. They do not offer health insurance. Now they owners have shared with him that ownership would not be offered, ever. He is very skilled, has quite a following, so would like to start his own business as a result. He recently shared with me that he has a non compete clause. I do not have all the details, but one stipulation is a 30 mile radius. I live in the state of Iowa. First I'd like to understand how strong this clause can be given he feels they broke their trust by changing their mind about the ownership promise. I assume that was not in writing. Can this clause be broken? They are really impacting him now, promising ownership, and recently saying no. Also with the 30 mile radius, could his business address be outside of the 30 mile radius, but he sees patients within the 30 mile radius? Thank you
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Legally, in order to have a binding non-compete clause it must be in writing, just like their agreement to give him ownership in the company. If the non-compete is a written agreement, even if they broke their promise about ownership, then it can still be enforceable in Iowa as long as the interests the agreement protects are only those reasonable to protect the existing employer and as long as the geographic area is reasonable and time frame (not more than 2 years) is reasonable.

If he has a 30 mile radius clause, his office would have to be outside of that 30 mile radius to comply with the non-compete and if he is seeing patients within that 30 mile radius then he could be still sued for breach of the non-compete.

To break the non-compete, you have to prove that the time length or geographic scope is unreasonable or that the scope that is being protected is too broad to protect only the narrow scope the current employer needs protected. The other option is to negotiate a buyout of the non-compete, which would have to be in writing with the current employer to release him from that agreement.

I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

This is NOT the practice of law nor is it legal advice to you, it is merely educational information for you to use to seek out a licensed attorney in your state to get actual legal advice from them. Please use sites such as or or to find a local attorney to get actual legal advice in all matters.
Law Educator, Esq. and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you