Can I work for asecond employer if I signed paperwork agreeing not to?

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2011

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Can I work for asecond employer if I signed paperwork agreeing not to?

I teach classes at a health club, but I am pretty sure I will not be given any more classes than the ones that I have (even though I have asked for more). I signed paperwork agreeing not to work for a competitor but now an opportunity has come up to work for one. Can the first club fire me if I work for another club, even if the second club does not interfere with my schedule at the first, and I do not solicit members to the second?

Asked on January 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If you signed a contract, you are bound by it as long as it's not illegal--and making an employee agree to not work for a competitor is perfectly legal. So (1), you are bound by the contract and can't work for the competitor, regardless of conflict, solicitation, etc. or not; and (2) generally speaking, even without an agreement such as you describe, and employer would be perfectly within its rights to terminate an employee for working for a competitor, unless the employee's job or right to do so was specifically protected in some way by an employment agreement. So this is certainly a case in which you could be terminated for doing this.

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