Getting a NonCompete Waived


I was recently asked to leave my employer. I am a year out of college and initially signed a non-compete agreement. The noncompete agreement is overly broad: covers a duration of 1 year as well as covering all of the United States geographically. I understand that there is no way this agreement should be enforceable, is there any realistic methods of getting it waived without going to court?

1 answer  |  asked Jun 29, 2005 5:09 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Changing the Deal

No contract is forever fixed and unchangeable. You can always go back to the other party to the agreement, and ask for a new agreement changing one or more of the terms of the original agreement. So, for example, you can ask your former employer to agree that it will do nothing to enforce the non-compete agreement.

The problem with doing this is that the other party is under no obligation to even begin discussions with you about changing the agreement. That is, the other party, your former employer, can simply say, "No."

It is not uncommon for employers to simply not act on non-compete agreements that have been signed by employees involuntarily terminated without cause, such as employees laid off for economic reasons. So, you might be able to go to work with a competitor and find that your former employers does nothing. That is, however, taking a chance.

As an employee who was terminated, you stand a much better chance of a court finding the non-compete unenforceable than if you left the employer voluntarily, but I would not say that there is no chance that a court would find the agreement enforceable.

I think you have the same situation with employees who leave of their own volition. There is a better likelihood of the non-compete being enforced against them, but I would not say that it is anywhere near certain that it will be enforced against them.

It all depends . . . .

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jun 30, 2005 07:50 AM [EST]

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