getting out of a non-compete agreement.

I have a non compete agreement working for an Executive Search Firm.

I do not believe that I have any proprietary information or any "trade secrets" that need protecting. Executive Search firms are a dime a dozen in the New York Area.

I beleive that the non compete is a way for the employer to restrict competition.

I am wondering if I were to leave and go to a competetor what my exposure would be.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 11, 2008 10:17 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Getting Out of a Non-Compete

When people come to me with employment agreements with non-compete provisions, I often warn them that they may be buying a lawsuit.

On the other hand, I also have to say that employers do not have to have a non-compete to sue a former employee for improperly taking proprietary information from the employer. Further, it is not unusual for an employer to do nothing even though an employer has a non-compete with a former employee.

The fact remains that New York State courts are slow to enforce non-competes, and generally will do so only when an employer is trrying to protect something which is truly proprietary.

However, non-competes still present a big risk. Although employees are likely to win a lawsuit brought by an employer on a non-compete, the win could cost the employees ten of thousands of dollars in legal fees to win.

If an employee wants out of a non-compete, my usual suggestion is generally just to leave the employer. Then the employee will wait and see if the employer does anything. If an employee does not wish to take a wait-and-see position, an employee can always bring a declaratory judgment action. In a declaratory judgment action, the employee is asking a court to decide whether the non-compete would be enforcible. A declaratory judgment action is not necessarily any cheaper than defending a lawsuit brought by an employer.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Mar 13, 2008 08:54 AM [EST]

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