How can I tell if my non-compete form has expired or is valid?

I was terminated, and they said I violated my employment agreement. I signed this 6 years ago when I started and have never signed another one since.

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Non-competition agreements do not "expire"--once you sign one, it remains in effect indefinitely. There is a limit on how long it could be for--for example, most employees can only be bound to not compete for 6  months to a year after the end of their employment--but that's a limit that comes into effect after you leave employment. However, if you signed a non-competition agreement, say, 50 years ago, then left employment today, it would still be enforceable for that (typical) 6 - 12 month period post employment.

You need to have an attorney review the agreement and the circumstances of your termination with you. Usually, if the employee is terminated, the non-competition cannot be enforced against him/her--they typically apply when the employee voluntarily separates from employment. That said, depending on the circumstances and how the agreement was written, you could certainly have one that is enforceable even in the event of termination.

A non-competition agreement is a contract; like any contract, its precise wording is critical. That's why, to understand your rights, you need an attorney to review it with you.

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