Can a company arbitrarily enforce a non-complete agreement?

I was just laid off from an IT consulting firm where I was a full time employee for eight years. I am being asked to sign a non-compete agreement in order to gain severance. According to the terms of the non-compete agreement, for a period of eighteen months following the date of the agreement I cannot provide consulting services to any accounts in which the Employee represented the Company in the twelve months preceding the termination of employment. One of the Company's clients, for whom I did provide consulting services in the past year, has offered me a full-time job. Is a full time position considered "providing consulting services"? Additionally, the Company has allowed the client to directly hire away many of their consultants over the years. Is the Company allowed to be arbitrary in its enforcement of a non-compete agreement?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 12, 2008 2:24 PM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

Answers (1)

Christopher McKinney
Arbitrary enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements

The answer to your question is generally yes, a company may pick and choose who it wishes to enforce a non-compete against. However lack of uniform enforcement may make it more difficult for the company to prevail on such claims.

Moreover, while I would need more facts to give you a legal opinion, the fact that your company is asking you to sign a non-compete only at the completion of your employment with the company could make it more difficult for the company to enforce the agreement.

Obviously, the easiest way to avoid this issue is to simply refuse to sign the agreement and take the job you have been offered.

Take care.

Very Best Regards,

Christopher McKinney
700 East Sonterra Blvd.
Suite 1202
San Antonio Texas 78258
(210) 832-0932
(210) 568-4101 Fax
The McKinney Law Firm

posted by Christopher McKinney  |  Feb 12, 2008 3:35 PM [EST]

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