Non-interference in Employment Agreement

I am an IT consultant residing and working in Phoenix, AZ whereas my former employer is Massachussetts. He made me sign Non-interference clause in the employment agreement to not work with his clients for 1 year after termination. I had to sign this agreement due to my immigration issues. However, I was already working for this client before I signed this agreement. As such this client was introduced by me to this employer and not the other way. Would such Non-interference clause be still enforceable. Which State would it be enforceable AZ or MA since in the agreement he also made me sign that all arbitrations to take place in MA

1 answer  |  asked Dec 20, 2004 6:34 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Non-interference clauses are generally enforceable

It is difficult to answer a question like this without having the opportunity to review the agreement and the circumstances in which it was signed. In general, a non-interference clause or anti-piracy agreement will be enforced to the same extent as any contract. Unlike non-compete agreements, which must be narrowly tailored in time and geographic scope, non-interference agreements do not prevent you from working in your chosen profession. They merely prevent you from luring away existing clients of the former employer. The fact that you brought the client to the employer probably makes no difference. By signing the agreement and becoming an employee, you were acknowledging that the client was your employer's, not yours.
The last part of your question is actually several questions. The first question is what law applies, that of Massachussetts or Arizona. Second is the forum in which the case would be heard. Whether the arbitration clause is enforceable is yet another question. Ironically, you would probably want the case to be subject to the arbitration clause, while your former employer would want to go into court in Arizona to get a preliminary injunction to enforce the agreement. If you are planning on working for the client, I would strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney before you go any further.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Dec 21, 2004 12:33 PM [EST]

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