Can my employer restrict me from joining another firm having a similar business

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can my employer restrict me from joining another firm having a similar business

I am a student on a OPT Visa. My present employment contract says I cannot join another company in the same line of business or any company whom I have had the chance to interact or contact during the course of my employment with my existing employer. This restriction applies for a period of 1 year from the date of termination of my employment with my present employer.

Asked on December 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this restriction is legal. It is known as a "non-compete" agreement. The main reason that employers require employees to sign these agreements is to avoid having to compete with a former employee who knows internal trade secrets. These contracts also generally prevent employees from going after a company's customers and using their intellectual property for their personal gain. While legal, however, such agreements must not be too broad in scope (e.g. cannot cover too large a geographic area, cannot last longer thsn 3 years, etc.). Also, check to see if your if your new job will, in fact, put you in direct competition your former employer (e.g. will the new position use different technology, service a different market or provide a different type of service). If you can find a meaningful difference between the 2 jobs, than you can use this to show that the exact terms of the agreement will not be violated by your new employment. Also, a non-compete agreement is valid only if it protects trade secrets, customer lists or some other legitimate business interests. If you have no access to, or knowledge of, sensitive company information, you can argue that the non-compete is unenforceable as an unreasonable restraint on your ability to obtain new employment.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption