Non-compete relating to prospective customers

I was told I had to sign a new non-compete in 1999 (3 years after original employment)or I would risk being fired. The new non-compete included prospects as covered under the non-compete as well as present customers which is normal for our business. Prospects defined as anyone a proposal had been submitted to within a years time of leaving the organization.

I left the organization because my employer demoted myself from a management position to a sales postion and put unreasonable continued employment goals on me, they were trying to work me out of the organization. I am now with a direct competitor in the same geography. I have been asked by a company to submit a proposal for their business, this company I had given a proposal to 6 months prior to my leaving my previous employer. My previous employer has had no business with this customer.

I would like to be able to sell to this prospect as there would be no monetary damage to my ex-employer. I am asking for your opinion. I have been notified by my ex-employers lawyers that I need to abide by our non-compete agreement.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 6, 2004 07:35 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Ann Lugbill
Non-compete

A non-compete, to be nforceable, as to be reasonable as to scope, geography, and time period.

Generally, in Ohio, a year is considered reasonable, although it can be less depending on the business. Some courts would likely not enforce a clause if it prohibited you from competing as to customers that were not customers of your old employer. To give you a more precise answer, the actual non-compete document that you signed must be reviewed, as must specific information be shared about the nature of your work.

You should consult an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law. One such listing of possible sources is at the www.ohioemploymentlawyersassociation.org website, click on roster. alternatively, you might ask your current employer if their law firm could suggest a person who would review your agreement and advise you if they foresee any difficulties.

It there are truly valid non-compete barriers, you may want to have this proposal submitted to them by your boss and under his/her name. One explanation for this may be truthfully that you are new to the company and that this prospect is so important to them that they wanted to make sure all potential questions and issues are overed. The added advantage is that this makes it even more difficult for the non-compete to bar your company from doing business with this prospect.

posted by Ann Lugbill  |  Mar 7, 2004 8:13 PM [EST]

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