Signed non compete forms in Ohio

I signed a non compete form at time of hire. I was recently let go. I now have an opportunity to work for a competitor. What are the consequences if I accept this position? I am only in data entry.

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What exactly does the noncompete say? Does it list a specific length of time you cannnot work for a competitor? Does it provide a geographic radius you can't worth within (but you'd be ok outside that area)? First thing to do is to look closely at the noncompete.

Courts generally do not like noncompetes, especially for people in purely administrative functions, like your own. (Most noncompetes are for executives or sales/account personell...people who could do real damange if they took business secrets, or clients with them to a competitor). It is very rare to have a noncompete on a data entry person, and in particular, if it is so broad and aggressive that it might prevent you from earning a living, there's an excellent chance that a court would refuse to enforce it--though you *should* get a legal opinion from an employment lawyer who can review the noncompete in detail as well as your circumstances.

The potential liability is *usually* that your former employer could bring a legal action to get an injunction, or court order, prohibiting you from working for the competitor. Sometimes, though more rarely, those clauses or forms also provide for "liquidated damages," or some monetary penalty, for violating them. Again, first thing to do is to read the agreement carefully; second is to show it to a local lawyer who does employment law.

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