change from commission to salary and territory increase

I signed a non-compete 9 1/2 yrs ago the agreement was mentioned after I was hired and i was paid 25.00 to sign it or i would be terminated. Company recently changed the compensation package from commission to salary, resulting in a 30% pay cut for myself(they changed all the sales people's pay to salary). They also increased everyone's territory which results in more travel and out of pocket expenses. Would my non-compete still be enforceable? I would be interested in a inital consultation. thank you.

1 answer  |  asked Jun 27, 2003 12:21 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
It all depends

In order to give you a useful answer I need to know what interest, if any, the current employer has to protect with the non-compete and what threat, if any, your employment with a competitor presents to the current employer. Everything else aside, courts will protect an employer's legitimate interest.

The fact that you received almost nothing in consideration of signing a non-compete probably will not help you. I can explain why during a consultation. The short answer is that, while courts require some consideration to create a contract, they do not require much. Even $25 and continued employment may suffice.

The fact that your employer has now cut your pay and increased your work will help you if the threat to the legitimate interest of your current employer is slight. You could argue that, by changing your pay, your employer breached its obligations under the non-compete and you are free of your obligation under it as well. You can also argue that the employer's bad conduct allows the court to refuse to exercise its injunctive power to prevent you from competing. Injunctions are based on a court's equity power and courts do not have to exercise their equity power for a party who does not have "clean hands."

I can give you a more specific answer and strategize an exit from your current employer if you want to do a consultation. We offer a telephone consultation for $150 per hour for the first 90 minutes. If you are interested, call Cheryl Green at 330.665.5445, ext. 2.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jul 1, 2003 10:10 AM [EST]

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