Non compete signed under duress

I'm a consultant. I worked for a tech company that went bankrupt. We were bought by a new comapny that forced us to sign a non-compete,- if we did not sign it you were fired. We have had layoffs, no bonus and a recent 10% pay cut. There has been no training or bonuses that were promised when I started at the first company. I am working alone as a project manager at the client. Five other people from my company are doing unrelated technology work for the same client.
I want to go independent and stay at the client and they have commited to retaining my service for min 6 months. Should I be worried about the non-compete and is it binding?

1 answer  |  asked Jan 15, 2002 11:36 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

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Answers (1)

Aaron Maduff
Non-Compete Under Duress

Your ultimate question seems to be can you do other business? In order to answer that question, an attorney would need to review the non-compete agreement and discuss with you what it is you want to do independantly. What you want to do may not violate the non-compete, or under certain conditions the non-compete agreement may be unenforceable -- for example if your services are so specialized that the non-compete would effectively prevent you from working.
With regard to the question of whether the non-compete agreement is invalid because it was signed under duress, I am afraid you are going to lose that argument. Under the law, you had the choice to leave employment with that employer instead of signing the non-compete. In other words, the law looks at it as just another conidition of employment that you agree to if you want the job.
I would like to see the agreement however and examine what it is you want to do.
Aaron Maduff

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Jan 16, 2002 9:16 PM [EST]

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