Is the non compete enforceable?

I was terminated from a job where i worked 8 years. I managed then supervised and the managed again. When I was promoted I didn’t sign a non-compete again nor did I sign another when I stepped back down to manager. The previous company whom I worked for before this last one has offered me a position with them. It is the same line of work.

Asked on September 27, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Noncompete agreements are enforceable in your state. Generally, however, noncompete agreements will not be enforced against employees who are terminated or laid off (as opposed to voluntarily leaving--e.g. quitting or resigning) unless you received some "consideration"--that is, something of valu--other than or in addition to employment for signing. That is because if the only consideration you received for the agreement was your job, when they terminated you, they took away that consideration; but contracts of any kind require an exchange of consideration, or each party giving the other something of value. If the only thing you received of value was employment, but then they took that employment away (terminated you), that will usually be interpreted to render the agreement not enforceable for lack of consideration. 
If you did receive something else for signing--debt foregiveness, if you had owed the company money; company-paid tuition; a bonus or stock; etc.--then taking away your job did not take away the consideration and the agreement would still be enforceable against you.


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