re: competition clause and not receiving prompt or correct pay.

I have worked since august 30th, 2004 as a nurse practitioner for a health care company. there is a non-compete clause in my contract that i cannot see the patients for a year. the company is currently under federal fraud investigation. all of the nurse practitioners in my region are not being paid on the payday we are to have. When i do get my checks, they are 500 to 3 thousand dollars off. many cannot pay their bills. they were notified of my breach of contract dec. 27 and have 30 days to fix. my contract also says that i will have to pay their atty fees. is there any way to fight this competition clause and see the patients through one of my physicians? how would ohio stand on this? could this be thousands of dollars? keep in mind i am paying late fees, closing retirement accounts and making deals with bill-collectors. thank you.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 9, 2005 01:11 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
You may be able to accept competitive employment because of this breach

Your current employer has put you in a classically unfair position. It got a restriction on your right to move to competitive employment, but is failing to pay you, forcing you to seek your new employment.

Ohio law recognizes the unfairness of this situation and provides a way out, under certain circumstances. Specifically, if your non-competition agreement recites that, in exchange for your employer's promise of employing and paying you your salary, you agree not to comptete, then its breach of the agreement to pay you may excuse you from the restrictive covenant (the non-compete). The key is whether the non-compete is tied to getting paid for your job. That depends on the language of the non-compete itself.

As a practical matter, if your employer cannot afford to pay you your regular pay, it probably cannot justify paying $10K to fight what is probably a losing battle to keep you from going to the competition. In other words, if you feel lucky, you can take a chance on accepting the competitive employment and hope that your employer does not enforce the non-compete.

Finally, if you can find employment that involves little or no actual contact with your former patients for the duration of that agreement, your chances in court and the chances that you will not get sued both go up.

If you would like to discuss this further, a consultation may make sense for you. Call Julie Rupert at 330.665.5445, ext. 0 if you would like to do that.

Best regards,

Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jan 10, 2005 09:47 AM [EST]

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