Can I be considered an independent contractor if I have a restrictive covenant clause in my contract prohibiting me from offering my services within a 25 mile radius of a business?

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Can I be considered an independent contractor if I have a restrictive covenant clause in my contract prohibiting me from offering my services within a 25 mile radius of a business?

I’m a dance instructor and have been teaching at a studio out here for 8 years. When I first got hired on I had to sign a contract with the studio stating I wouldn’t teach in the

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) Independent contractors, or even other businesses (e.g. a vendor or supplier) can be held to non-competition agreements, and there is nothing about a non-competition agreement that makes the party bound by it an employee. A non-competition agreement is simply a contract; both employees and non-employees may enter into contracts agreeing to not offer services or products within a certain area. So while you may be mischaracterized as an independent contractor for other reasons (e.g. due to the degree of control they exercise over you) and may wish to contact your state department of labor about this, the agreement itself does not make you an employee.
2) A non-compete is a contract: it requires the agreement of both parties. That agreement can come under pressure--"sign this or I will terminate you"--but there still must be agreement. Changes made without consent are not valid, and the last consent-to version of the agreement should be the one in effect and enforceable.


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