Can my employer enforce the a non-compete if I join my client?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can my employer enforce the a non-compete if I join my client?

I’m on an H1b visa and I work for my client through an employer. My client offered me a permanent opportunity which I took it and transferred my h1b. I gave 2 weeks of notice to my employer. They emailed me saying you signed non-compete so you can’t join the client. Some other facts, my client and employer have a contract that clearly states that they can convert a contractor to a permanent employee. Also, my employer is in NJ and the client is located in IL. I am moving to Canada and going to work from there for the client. What should I do?

Asked on September 21, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Non-compete agreements (and their close cousins, non-solicitation agreements) are legally enfoceable in most states, including NJ and IL, in the U.S.; we cannot offer an opinion on Canadian law, since this is a U.S. law site and we are U.S. attorneys. Non-competes and non-solicitations are contracts, and like all contracts, are enforced according to their plain terms; if you signed an agreement which bars you from working for a client, then if you violate that, under U.S. law, they could sue you for compensation or for a court order barring you from working for them.
You should consult with a Canadian attorney about whether this can be enforced against you in Canada.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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