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How do I get around a non-compete agreement?

A non-compete agreement can limit your ability to find work after leaving a previous employer. Sometimes, these agreements are so restrictive it makes quitting a bad work situation impossible. If you ignore a non-compete agreement, you run the risk of getting sued or fired from your new job. So how do you get out of a bad job if you have a non-compete agreement?

Here are five ways to beat a non-compete agreement.

  1. Prove your employer is in breach of contract. If your non-compete agreement is buried in an employment contract, make sure your employer held up other aspects of the contract. This could include insurance obligations, compensation owed, or any other aspect of your employment agreement. If your employer breached the contract, then you may be relieved of your obligations as well.
  2. Prove there is no legitimate interest to enforce the non-compete agreement. Unless you were privy to trade secrets, confidential information, specialized training, or some other proprietary material, there is no reason to include a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment.
  3. Prove the agreement is not for a reasonable amount of time. It's up to the court to determine what a reasonable amount of time is for a non-compete agreement. If your employer includes a time period that is not reasonable, it may not be upheld. It will depend on the state where you live, your job and your industry.
  4. Prove that the confidential information you had access to isn't special. If your company is acting to protect client lists or sales leads, they need to be sources that aren't available to the public. If you can prove that the information you have is available to everyone, then your non-compete may not be enforced.
  5. Prove that public health/safety would not be served. For public health and safety positions that are short staffed and in need of workers, a court will not allow a non-compete to be enforced. This could include employees who are in specialized health and science fields.

If you have a non-compete in your contract, talk to an employment attorney before you give notice or quit your job to find out what your options are.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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