Does a non compete apply AFTER you quit your job?

I had to sign a non compete that said I could NEVER start a business or any type
of media i.e., YouTube channel related to the industry ever in my lifetime.
Does this apply after I quit? I am really frustrated with the owner and would
really like to venture off.

Asked on March 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes it does. The general purpose of such an agreement (also known as a restrictive covenant) is to limit the ability of employees to go into business against their employer within a certain geographic area for a certain period of time. If a worker signs one, they are agreeing that they will not compete with their employer by engaging in any similar business, either as an employee, independent contractor, owner, investor, etc.  While non-compete agreements are analyzed under state law, and each state is different, there are some common factors that courts look at to determine whether a non-compete agreement is reasonable:

Does the employer have a legitimate business interest to protect?
What is the geographic scope of the restriction?
What is the duration of the agreement (i.e. how long is it for)?
Did the employer provide the employee with additional compensation/benefits in return for getting their signing the agreement?
Does the agreement keep the employee from doing a type of work different from what they had been performing?

Each jurisdiction has its own laws, etc. regarding the validity of a non-compete agreements. For specific information on your state’s laws you should consult directly with a local attorney who can best advise you further.

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