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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38168
Experience:  16 years practicing attorney
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I signed a non compete agreement company who is based out of

Customer Question

I signed a non compete agreement for a company who is based out of Colorado. The company has just let me go after 14 years of service. They have threatened to sue me if I sell competing lines with them. They said the non compete would be enforced. I signed the non compete over 13 years ago. Is it still valid. I have two mortgages and two car payments and need to be in the same industry I have worked for the last 14 years. Please advise?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am based out of the state of Georgia. I started with a virgin territory and sold over 115 million dollars over the 13.5 years I was employed with the company and was fired without any severance for what they said was credible evidence I was selling other lines outside of the company. I did have another business which I own with my wife and was working approximately 3 lines which did not compete with the company I worked with. Bot***** *****ne was I generated all that business to the company, led it in sales for 8 straight years generating 25-30% of the companies total volume.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Unfortunately the non compete wouldn't become invalid simply due to the passage of time or whether you were terminated or left on your own. The non complete would still be enforceable for whatever its duration is, assuming it was valid from the start with being reasonable as to time and geographic coverage and protecting a legitimate business interest. Typically anything under 2 years is considered reasonable and the geographic restrictions would be subjective based on the type of business.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Isn't Georgia a right to work state. The non compete was 3 years.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

A right to work state just means that you can't be forced to join a union in order to get hired. It doesn't mean that you literally have the right to force an employer to continue to employ you....

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But at 3 years, that is outside the normal duration that courts will enforce. That doesn't mean that they can't sue you and force you to defend, just that a judge may rule that 3 years is too long a period to be enforceable. But under GA laws, the court can "blue pencil" an unenforceable clause so as to make it enforceable if the rest of the non compete is legitimate. So a court could reduce the time from 3 years to some lesser period as long as the rest of the contract was in accordance with state law.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have to work, and this is the only industry I have worked for the last 30 years. If I took a job with another company which offered the same programs, will I be at risk to be sued?
There is no way I can stay out of the industry which includes all grocery, drug, and specialty channels. Does the non compete preclude me from working any accounts in any of these channels?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

will I be at risk to be sued?

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Legally yes, if you are in alleged violation of the non compete. Can they enforce the non compete? That is another question and a lot of it would have to with the exact contract and what it states is prohibited. But it would come down to what a judge thinks and whether they have a legitimate business interest to protect or whether they are just trying to stop competition..

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And it also depends on whether they will want to spend the thousands of dollars on paying an attorney to file suit to try to enforce the non compete.

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Does the non compete preclude me from working any accounts in any of these channels?

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I would have no way of knowing what your non compete says and what actions are prohibited. I am not allowed to conduct a legal review of your contract as that is something that a local attorney representing you would have to do since I can't represent customers from the site in an attorney / client relationship.

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These are all unknowns that there is no way I could really opine on. So it might be worth paying a local employment law attorney to review your contract and give you a formal opinion on whether the contract would be enforceable or not so you can be informed as to the facts before you act...

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thanks

Barrister