What to do if m ex-employer is keeping me from getting a new job?

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What to do if m ex-employer is keeping me from getting a new job?

After 12 years of employment my employer discharged me and I am now collecting unemployment. My job was install technician – I programmed and installed computer systems for restaurants and trained the staffs. I was required to sign an “Agreement of Employment Containing Covenant Not To Compete”. I have had 2 job opportunities and both times my former employer has contacted my perspective employer indicating that I could not work for them due to my non-compete. My most recent opportunity is pretty much the same work as what I had been doing. It does not include soliciting business however my perspective employer has asked that I work this out. Can you provide my options?

Asked on December 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a non-competition agreement is enforceable. However, the courts do not view them particularly favorably, and will cut back or reduce ones which last for too long a time, which cover too wide a geographic area, or which prevents someone from working in too many different fields or capacities. The best thing for you to do is to consult with an employment law attorney, who can review the situation and the agreement with you; it may that you have grounds to challenge the agreement or seek to reduce its scope (e.g. seeking a "declaratory judgment" limiting its effect); or at least the attorney could advise you as to what positions would not be covered by it.


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