Can my ex-employer take legal action against me for working for a family that use the daycare that I got fired from?

I recently got fired from a daycare one of the mom’s asked if I would be her helper, which involves picking up the kids from school and bringing them home to where she is at. She watches her

children while I do the household chores like dishes and laundry and cleaning the house. They sent me I document I signed saying I wouldn’t provide childcare to the families. Can they take legal action against me for this?

Asked on March 9, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you signed what is called a "non-compete" agreement (i.e. one the precludes a former employee from working for current clients), then you cannot be prohibited from working for this family. If, however, the document that you signed prohibits you from doing so, then it is legal. That having been said, if it is too broad in scope (e.g. it for longer than 5 years, etc.), then it may be unenforceable.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you signed some non-competition or non-solicitation agreement which would prevent you from doing this, then they could sue you to enforce that agreement. But if you did not agree contractually to not work for these people, then you can--a former employer has no legal right to stop terminated employees from working for whomever they want in the absence of an agreement.
You write that they sent you a document that you had signed: if it did sign it, and if the document states that you can't work for this family (e.g. you can't work for any of the families who use the daycare), then they could stop you from working for them, and sue you (for breach of contract; that is, violating the agreement you signed) if you work for them. It depends on what the document says or prohibits.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.