Lack of non-compete

I was terminated as an employee 6 months ago
by a consulting and training firm, where I
had been employed for 20 years. In those
20 years, I had never signed a contract of
any sort. There was an employee handbook, but it did
not mention non-compete whatsoever.
I was immediately re-engaged by this same company
as an outside contractor/consultant, being
paid by the job (each job has it's own agreement
as to fees and time).

My new consultanting contract with this firm
specifically states that I can have other
customers, and that either party may leave
the contract with 30 days notice without
prejudice. There is no non-compete clause
whatsoever.

I have just taken fulltime employment with a
competitor, as a salaried employee. I intend
to email my colleagues in the field, including
several thousand former or current customers
of the first company. I have given my 30 day
notice to them. This email will not mention
the name of my new employer, just that after
such and such a date I will no longer be able
to service their needs (as customers of my old company)
and that I have taken other employment in the same field.
These contact email addresses have resided in my personally owned
computer for many years, and I do not intend
to access the company's customer database.

The question: May I send this type of email
to current customers of my original company?

What about former customers, no longer doing
business with the former company?

Thanks!

1 answer  |  asked Mar 11, 2003 09:40 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Carol Oshana
Go for it

If you never signed a non-compete agreement, then I would go ahead with your plans. A non-compete, even if signed, must come with some sort of compensation or benefit (other than simply keeping your job), and must be limited in time and distance (such as within 5 miles of the employer). In this case, if you never signed one, then you are free to compete with your employer. But I suggest you retain a lawyer just to look at those contracts you did sign, just to be on the safe side.

posted by Carol Oshana  |  Mar 12, 2003 08:22 AM [EST]

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