Can a company in Texas prevent you from working in same industry in your city for an entire year upon termination?

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Can a company in Texas prevent you from working in same industry in your city for an entire year upon termination?

I started work at a small company that made me sign an agreement with a non-compete clause as a pre-requisite to employment. Basically, it says I can’t work in the same industry within 25 miles of any of their locations for a period of 1 year. If enforceable, this clause prevents me from working anywhere in my own city for an entire year, I would have to practically relocate to another city just to make a living. Will a court actually uphold this?

Asked on August 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a court will uphold this. Noncompetition agreements are legal and enforceable, so long as you either quit or were fired "for cause" (for doing something bad enough that you'd also be denied unemployment, like violating company policy, excessive absenteeism, stealing from the employer or violating employer confidences, etc.). (Generally, if laid off or fired *not* for cause, the agreement will not be enforceable: the law doesn't let employees take away your job without you being at fault in some significant way while stopping you from working elsewhere.) A year is within the period that typically would be enforced against an employee--it's on the longer side, but still an amount courts enforce. And a 25-mile radius is also generally an enforceable geographic limitation.


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