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I have signed a contract employee agreement that contains…

I have signed a contract...
I have signed a contract employee agreement that contains Non-Complete covenants. I need help understanding the limits of these covenants and whether or not a business venture I am considering may be affected.
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Answered in 1 minute by:
1/30/2018
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5,451
Experience: Over 30 years of experience
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Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. Please bear with me while I review your question. I will respond fully shortly. Thank you for your patience.

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Hello,

Thank you for your patience and thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

Can you provide more information on your situation?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
thank you for the quick response.Here is the background. I am an engineer working on a contract basis for a high tech company. I am working through a contract agency as a W2 employee. There are no benefits of any kind. I am strictly an hourly employee where the contract agency takes a percentage of every hour I earn.I am investigating starting a contract agency myself and am concerned that the non-compete covenants in my contract agreement will prevent me from doing so.

Thank you for the additional information. Are you able to post the contract or the non-compete terms?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I will attach the PDF

Thank you. Please bear with me while I review this.

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Thank you for your patience. I am preparing a response now.

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A Non-compete is valid and enforceable in MA where it is (1) necessary to protect a legitimate business interest; (2) reasonably limited in time and space; and (3) consonant with the public interest.

Soliciting clients of the former employer is considered a violation of the legitimate interest of the former employer. So that would create an issue for you.

The 12 month period is generally a considered a reasonable period of time to restrict the former employee.

BUT the agreement appears to neglect to provide a geographical constraint. That may be a fatal flaw in the agreement. Without specifying a reasonable geographic constraint the agreement fails to address a critical point. It may render the agreement invalid.

The problem with these issues is that we can not be certain how a court will approach it when there is a critical provision lacking.

It would appear that you are on fairly strong ground to contest the terms of this agreement, but you will want to have a local attorney available to you to fight back if the employer sues you over this.

I hope the information I provide is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow-up questions, feel free to ask.

If you ask a follow-up question and I do not respond immediately, it is because I am temporarily unavailable. I promise to respond as soon as I return. Please note that I am often unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

Please do not forget to give me a positive rating. It adds nothing to your costs but helps me greatly. Thank you.

If you are dissatisfied with my response, PLEASE let me know before giving me a negative review so that I may try to be of better assistance. Or, if you prefer, let me know and I can “Opt Out” and your question can be re-posted without additional cost to you. I will be fair to you, and only ask the same from you.

Good luck.

Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Kind regards,

Gerald

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you for the information, It follows my layman's interpretation, however I would like to go into a little more detail on a statement you made about the possibility that the agreement may be considered invalid due to the lack of a geographical constraint.Are you saying that if I create a competing business that the entire non-compete covenant section of my existing agreement could be ruled invalid and therefore un-enforceable due to the lack of a geographical constraint? Even if I take on clients that currently work with the current agency?

Yes, possibly. But this can get complicated quickly, and you would have to be prepared to defend against a claim for doing so.

If you were to go forward you want too position yourself in a way that you can assert to the court that you were acting reasonably. This means that you may not want to go after their clients.

This can be hard to describe in this mode of communication.

I have submitted an OPTIONAL offer to you for a premium service phone call so that we can discuss your concerns more easily. It is purely optional and I do not want you to spend extra money if it is not necessary. We can continue to post at no additional charge.

Otherwise if you are satisfied with the information please do not forget to rate me – click the five stars. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Gerald

Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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