Do I have to terminate my employees who signed an agreement to not work for any other bakery or competitive affiliation within 2 years of separation?

I run a pretzel shop. I have 2 employees that once worked for a competing pretzel shop. They have honored their contract in not revealing any trade secrets or even methods of baking. It was just brought to my attention that they also signed a document that says they can’t work for any other bakery for 2 years. Now 1 of my employees have already worked for a different bakery related business and the management of my competing establishment said nothing to this company. I have had both of these employees for over a month now and this is only now

been brought to my attention. I really do not want to lose the employees, is there anything I can do?

Asked on May 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are not a signatory to the non-competition agreement, so you can't be forced to fire them: a non-competition agreement, like any other contract, only binds those who are parties to the agreement. 
However, the employees may be sued for their breach of contract, and in the course of that lawsuit, a court could issue an order requiring them to stop working for you. They could als be sued for monetary damages for their breach of the agreement.

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