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Ray, Employment lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41015
Experience:  30 years in Employment law
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I need help. I signed a non-complete agreement when I

Customer Question

I need help. I signed a non-complete agreement when I started my past job 5 years ago. I had not been presented a copy of said agreement upon signing, but was just advised that the terms were for 12 months post departure.
My position changed significantly in responsibility since the time I was hired. I was not in a management or authority position. However, I did build strong working relationships with the clients. I left the job October 9, 2015.
I have been volunteering with and plan to start working full time for a competing company starting in August. The clients are all physicians - not a proprietary list. My job would include the same set of skills (support service, training/instruction on medical technology) as well as assisting clients with similar project once they are no longer clients of the my former employer...
The former employer is saying I am in breech of the non-compete agreement. According to Hawaii Act 158 HB 1090 CDI (effective 07/01/2015), I should be fine to approach and service clients. There is only 10 weeks left before the 12-month period has passed. It will be passed by the time this makes it to court.Am I thinking this through clearly?
Should I seek legal representation?
Will a judge take this seriously in court?
Please advise!
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you .

Have you actually been sued or sent a demand letter here?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
not yet. my former boss called to "inform me" of the document and that they would be sending a copy of the agreement and their request to cease and desist asap. i advised him of the newly passed HI law HB 1090 that very much seems to apply to this situation...
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Do you fit under the definitions here, if so thats a compelling argument.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (c)(4), any employment contract, post-employment contract, or separation agreement containing a noncompete or nonsolicit clause relating to an employee of a technology business is prohibited. Such agreement shall be void and of no force and effect.

As used in this subsection:

"Information technology" means any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. The term includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services, and support services, and related resources.

"Noncompete clause" means a clause in an employment contract, post-employment contract, or separation agreement that prohibits an employee from working in a specific geographic area for a specific period of time after leaving employment with the employer.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

You might print the bill here and argue the noncompete is now void under the law and they cannot enforce it, honestly you are so close to the end of time it is seriously unlikely they would sue here.

You may try and take your chances.I appreciate the chance to help and wish you the best with the new job.The old employer seems like a real piece of work to me.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I think this all applies to me. TeamPraxis is the company. I was on the Electronic Medical Records team. I was the physician trainer and helped with support, implementation, customization, all of that. I also helped with adaptation to the software application at their offices...
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Haha! thank you for your humor! My new boss and I were saying the same thing. I have been approached many, many times by my former customers to help them through the mess my former employer is putting them through. I know i am walking a fine line - but these clients would have been seeking services elsewhere regardless. It is amusing that after 9 months of being gone - the doctors are STILL calling me!!!
I am scaring my old employers... i guess!
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

You are so welcome.Wish you the best and Oloha.

Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

If you can 5 star rate it is much appreciated.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Is there anything I should - or should not be saying to them? or doing in the meantime? or shall I seek local representation???
I want to scare them right back...You are awesome by the way!
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Why not take the job and see what they do here or don't do, certainly you have right to raise the issue I am not sure they have a legal case here at all.Thanks again.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Great experience. 5 stars for sure. Thank you - and Mahalo!
Happy Aloha Friday to you!!!!
Expert:  Ray replied 11 months ago.

Bye for now.