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KJL LAW, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1373
Experience:  Attorney at law Office of KJLLAW
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My wife sold a company to whom I worked for. I stayed on

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My wife sold a company to whom I worked for. I stayed on with new company under a contract for three years. This is coming up and they want me to stay on but with a reduced salary. I am a union insulator but have been securing work for them. They made me sign a non compete in case things did not work out. They have told me I can not work for another contractor with in a sixty mile radius. We never opened a office down here. I have just been working from my home. We have rented some storage area in there name for tools, materials ect. Your thoughts. They did say they would let me by out my non compete for the 25k they owe me. Still employed by them now at original salary but expires soon. I am in the state of Indiana
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  KJL LAW replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon. I will answer your question in a moment.
Expert:  KJL LAW replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site, the answers are for general information. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.A little background. Indiana courts disfavor covenants not to compete, which they view as in restraint of trade. Harvest Ins. Agency, Inc. v. Inter-Ocean Ins. Co. 492 N.E.2d 686 (Ind. 1986) is a controlling case. Indiana courts strictly construe them against the employer and enforce them only if reasonable. Donahue v. Permacel Tape Corp. (1955), 234 Ind.398, 127 N.E.2d 235.The courts only like to uphold them if there is a legitimate employer business interest, such as trade secrets, customer goodwill, investment in special training or techniques, preventing solicitation of customers, and protecting the persona of an employee (public media figure). I'm not sure if you would apply to you, because you are a trained union worker.However, the courts have held that an employer does not have an interest in protecting relationships with past customers who have left it. So if they are arguing that point, it is a weak argument.In Indiana covenants not to compete are considered reasonable only where the restraint
is reasonably necessary to protect the employer, and is not unreasonably restrictive of the employee. Courts determine reasonableness with reference to the employer’s legitimate interests, if any, and the time, space and types of activity proscribed. In addition, reasonableness depends upon the entire contract and the situation to which it is related. But these factors are up to the court to apply to each individual case and facts.A non-compete agreement is reasonably necessary if an employer shows “the former employee has gained a unique competitive advantage or ability to harm the employer.” In other words, the employer must show some reason why it would be unfair to let the former employee compete with it. It is not unfair to the employer if the you as the employee competes against it using matters of public knowledge, general organizational skills, your general knowledge, or your training and skills, even if gained in the course of your employment).In Indiana non-competition agreements should have geographic restrictions. The geographic restriction should not be outside your work area, geographic work area unless, again, the restriction is necessary to protect trade secrets.So the non compete could be enforceable with limitations. Indiana dos not like to restrict your employment, and 60 miles is a large range.They are asking for a large amount of money to be released form the non-compete, and at seems excessive. It would be in your interest to hire a local attorney to negotiate an agreement/settlement regarding the non compete and its applicability before agreeing to any exchange of money. They will have a hard time enforcing the agreement in court, but the cost of litigating would outweigh an attorney fee for a negotiated settlement.I hope this helps.