NYC Non-Compete Agreements


I am currently being sued by my former employer for going to work for a competitor. I am doing a completely different role currently. There is no information that I feel was considered confidential that I had access to other than a database filled with leads that I occasionally needed to access for my managers. This was my first job out of college and my only work experience. Is there any case law that I can look up that's related to my case? Could they possibly stop me from growing my career and moving up by enforcing this non compete? I was under the impression that they wouldn't try to enforce this so I am shocked that I am being sued. Any advice will help!! Thank you!!

1 answer  |  asked Jan 7, 2009 12:29 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Respond to the Lawsuit

There is plenty of caelaw out there on non-compete agreements in employment. One problem is that the caselaw may not make a whole lot of sense to you unless you have an attorney helping you understand the many nuances.

My best advice if you are sued on a non-compete agreement is DON'T IGNORE IT. The surest and quickest way to have the non-compete agreement actually enforced against you is to fail to respond to the lawsuit. This is a shame because employees, actually former employees, usually win these lawsuits if they do respond.

How do you respond? Well, if you don't know the answer to this question, you shouldn't be doing it alone. Get an attorney -- IMMEDIATELY!!!!! Speed may be of the essence because employers often seek preliminary injunctions -- a temporary order essentially making you unemployed -- in these cases.

There were a couple of other things in your query. Apparently, employers are getting new employees to sign non-compete agreements by saying, "We probably won't enforce it." But answer me this: Why would an employer go through all the effort of preparing a non-compete agreement if it has no intention of enforcing it. It would seem to be a lot cheaper for the employer to not even bother with a non-compete agreement. So, if you are fed this line that they won't enforce it, you are being lied to.

As I often tell people who come in to see me on non-competes, if you sign a non-compete agreement, you are buying yourself a lawsuit, and one which is fairly expensive despite the fact that employees usually win. So, if you signed one and are now being sued, it is unfortunately now time for you to pay up for the mistake.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jan 8, 2009 09:32 AM [EST]

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