Can I continue to work with my own contract based business after leaving work as an independent contractor for another business that provides similar services?

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Can I continue to work with my own contract based business after leaving work as an independent contractor for another business that provides similar services?

I have been working as an independent contractor for a fundraising business
for the past 6 month, in MT. I also own my own contract based small
business that focuses on grant writing, graphic design and marketing. I’m
being told by the owner of the business I contract with that due to her
Independent Contractor Agreement I’m not allowed to continue with my own
business efforts for 12 months after discontinuing work with her as an
independent contractor because they are competing services. The contract
also states that I am allowed to do other contract based work while working
for her. I’m confused on what I can and can’t pursue and want to leave my
contract work with her company. Can I continue work with my own business?
Can I provide design work for clients, but not fundraising for 12 months? I
would not work with her clients, or try to take any business from her.

Asked on April 14, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you sign a contract, you are held to its specific terms; that is, each contract is enforced according to what it says. Therefore, the only way to know what you can and cannot do is to review the contract with an attorney, who can help you understand your rights, restrictions, and obligations under it. A contract like the one is describe is potentially enforceable (i.e it is legal), so the issue is what exactly does it say.


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