International Non-compete

Hi, I worked for an IT company in New York for 2 years and got transferred to a sister company in The Netherlands.

My first contract in New York had a non-compete of 3 years. My new contract in The Netherlands has a non-compete of 3 years also, but governing law is in The Netherlands.

If I come back to NY on my own, can I work for a competitor, given that the 3 year non-compete (from my NY contract) is over. (I've been in The Netherlands for 3 years now).?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 26, 2005 11:05 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Non-Competes Governed by Foreign Law

You present a highly unusual questions. Frankly, I can't be sure of the answer without doing a lot of research, but I will hazard a guess based on my knowledge and experience.

First, I have to make a major assumption. I don't know the law governing non-compete agreements in the Netherlands. I would suspect it is more unfriendly to employment non-competes than New York law, but I don't know that for sure. I will assume, however, that Dutch law will enforce non-compete provisions in employment agreements, no matter how restrictive.

Normally, a New York court will enforce a foreign agreement, and it will enforce it under the law of the applicable jurisdiction. New York law allows parties to a contract to select the law that would apply to the enforcement or interpretation of a contract. Thus, in your case, a New York court would normally enforce your Dutch contract under Dutch law.

However, New York, like most jurisdictions, will refuse to enforce a contract which would be enforceable in another jurisdiction if the enforcement of the contract would violate the public policy of New York.

Here, you luck out a bit. There is case law in New York saying that the enforcement of unnecessarily restrictive non-compete provision in an employment agreement violates New York public policy.

So, there is a chance that a New York court would refuse to enforce the Dutch non-compete. But a more definite determination on this issue would definitely require much more legal research.

It is a very unusual question.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Oct 26, 2005 4:11 PM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?

Virginia Employment Lawyers

Edward Lowry Edward Lowry
Charlottesville, VA
Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
Sheri R. Abrams PLLC
Oakton, VA
Gerald Lutkenhaus Gerald Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers Compensation & Disability Lawyer
Richmond, VA
Matthew Sutter Matthew Sutter
Sutter & Terpak, PLLC
Annandale, VA

more Virginia Employment Lawyers