Unemployable in a business I 've done for 18 yrs. because of a non compete

Are non compete's legal in the state of Arizona? I have been let go from previous employer and now want to start my own co. I am unemployable for 8 months according to my contract in the pool industry , but pools are all I know and have done to provide for my family for 18 yrs. I was told after 2 yrs, sign or be fired bascially. Also, previous employees have gone off and worked for other competitors but have never been pursued because they aren't a threat to the company as I am since I have such strong knowledge, isn't that illegal as well to single out an employee ? Also, my ex-employer is slandering me in such a way that I am getting a bad rep. I fear if it continues he will hinder my chances of making it here in Arizona. What are my options?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 11, 2002 11:25 AM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Non-compete may be invalid

Your question is three separate questions. First, non-compete agreements between employers and employees are not illegal, but they are not favored by the courts. They will be enforced only if they are necessary to protect legitimate business interests (mere avoidance of competition is not enough of an interest). Second, they must be reasonable in geographic scope and length of time or they will be held unenforceable. There is no set rule about what is reasonable. It depends on the job you did and the industry you are in. Most employers don't bother to enforce these agreements unless they are really being hurt by the competition, because it is hard to predict what a court will do with any particular agreement.
Singling out one employee for enforcement of the agreement is not, by itself, unlawful discrimination unless it is being done for an unlawful reason, such as because of your race, sex, religion or national origin.
Slander is a completely separate question that requires analysis by an attorney. To prove slander you must show that the former employer is publishing (verbally communicating) false factual information about you. Mere opinions won't do. Unless the statements being made are provably false, or the innuendo from the statements is a false fact, you have no claim for slander.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Feb 14, 2002 5:23 PM [EST]

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