non-compete hair salon agreement

I obtained employment at a local hair salon chain in 2007. When I first began employment, I had to sign an employment contract that included a non-compete clause stating I could not work within 7 air miles of my current place of employment for 1 year. The employment contract was in effect for 18 months from my hire date which ended in January of this year. I left that job to go to a salon that specializes in ethnic hair care and whom is basically retraining me in this area of expertise; as the former employer did not provide the same type of services. The former employer has sent a letter to me explaining that I am in violation of my no-compete clause for working under the radius and soliciting clients. I however have not solicited clients from the former employer. and I am working at a salon who in no way can even compete with the former employers large chain of salons. The new employer is a very small shop that deals with a specefic specialty and does not sell products as the former employer did. Also, all the training that I received from the former employer is now useless as I am having to be re-trained according to the new salons clientele. I had to leave my former employer due to the fact that I needed a more flexible schedule as I have 2 samll children with whom I need to be home with in the evening. I cannot afford not to work and was wondering if I can fight this non-compete agreement?

1 answer  |  asked May 5, 2009 08:34 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
A noncompete may not apply when the old employer and new employer provide different services.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, a noncompete may not apply when the old employer and new employer provide different services. To be enforceable, a noncompetition agreement MUST be related to a legitimate business interest of the employer. Merely preventing competition is NOT a legitimate business interest; instead, protecting trade secrets, the relationships you built for the employer, the investment in training that was given to you, etc., are legitimate business interests.

If you are providing different services now than when you were employed by the first salon, the salon may not have a legitimate business interest in stopping you from competing - after all, what harm are you doing? This is a very fact-sensitive inquiry, however, and I'd need to know more to form a good opinion. Furthermore, many noncompete agreements are invalid because they do not follow other technical requirements under the law - I cannot tell if this is so in your case.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  May 5, 2009 10:17 AM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?