Is this non compete enforcable?

My employer is offering to move me into an office position after 11 yrs. I have been working in the office here and there for about 2 yrs now. Now they are offering to train me in sales. In order to make the transition they informed me I would have to sign a no compete. Is this enforcable since I have already been exposed to most of their information and labor rates etc? Can they prevent me from practicing my trade if this does not work out?

1 answer  |  asked Aug 2, 2009 7:14 PM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

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Answers (1)

Jill J. Weinberg
Texas non-compete law is very complicated, fact sensitive and is constantly changing.The very essence of a NC IS to deprive you from working in that particular trade. There are numerous factors that must be assessed to determine if a NC is valid,and only a court can ultimately provide the answer. However, Lawyers can tell you the pros and cons of signing the NC (for ex., you are less marketable when you seek other employment and your prospective employer asks if you are bound by a NC). In short, Texas law allows NCs if an employer promises to provide specialized training or FUTURE confidential information to an employee bound by a NC. A NC agreement that may be enforceable under today's case law and not enforceable in the future. It is possible that the same agreement terms (imposed on various employees) may be enforced by one Judge and not another.
Even if the terms of a NC are overbroad the court can rewrite them rather than throw out the entire NC. Most employees make the mistake of signing one BEFORE hiring a lawyer (to save money) only to learn that once they signed it will cost thousands of dollars in legal fees
($10,000 -$50,000) to defend against them when they are sued. I urge you to buy an hour or two of an attorney's time to make certain you know your legal and financial exposure before you sign it.
Make certain whomever you hire as an attonrey is Board Certifed in Labor and Employment law in Texas or if he/she is not, ask them for specific expertise and experience in this area. I have seen too many attorneys not familiar with the constantly changing NC law give bad advice.

posted by Jill J. Weinberg  |  Aug 3, 2009 10:38 AM [EST]

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