may have signed a Non-compete in NY with big company

Hello, my father works for a large, national trash hauler. He has been offered a new job with a competitor in the same area, he might have signed a non compete when he started about 4 years ago. He is one of the best top producing salesmen in NY. the company has increased workload tremendously especially paperwork/computer wise, and restructed the commission program making it harder to achieve commissions. He has always been a hard worker for them and i know they would hate to see him go. If he goes with another company and has signed a non-compete is it still enforceable, he is 53 years old. thanks you

1 answer  |  asked Mar 17, 2003 8:25 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Enforceability of Non-Competes

In New York State, the courts generally disfavor non-compete provisions in employment agreements. That means that the agreement is likely not enforceable, but it does not mean it is definitely not enforceable. Whether it will be enforceable depends on the details. In your case, details such as who the customers are, and how are they found might be important.

Although a non-compete is likely not enforceable, another problem is the likely non-enforceability will not stop the employer from suing. You are likely to win the lawsuit, but it may cost a fair amount of money in attorneys' fees in order to win. The possibility of lawsuit, not the enforceability of the non-compete, is the biggest issue with non-competes in New York, because that is what costs the employee.

In these lawsuits, the employee will likely not be able to counter sue for attorneys fee, and will likely not be able to recover attorneys' fees in any other way.

Non-competes seem to be getting more common, and the trend disturbs me because employers use them even though the law is against them. To some degree, that concern is balanced by my observation that a lot of employer may use non-competes, but not nearly all of them will bother to enforce them.

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, feel free to call to set up an appointment.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Mar 18, 2003 09:12 AM [EST]

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