If my non-compete clause has expired, amI bound to it in any way?

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2012

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If my non-compete clause has expired, amI bound to it in any way?

Approximately 3 1/2 years ago I signed an independent contractor agreement with a dog walking company. It has a non-compete clause that states for 2 years after this date I cannot open my own company or walk for another company. For the last year I have not been paid on time and I have been given several payroll checks that have bounced. Can I open my own dog walking business now that the 2 years have passed?

Asked on February 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If a contract or agreement has an expiration date, then once that date expires, it is no longer binding.

Furthermore, when somone is party to a non-competition agreement, the material breach by the other party of its obligations will often provide a basis to terminate the agreement--this is to prevent people from signing others to non-competition agreements and then not hiring or employing them, leaving them unable to earn a living. In this case, the failure to be paid properly might have let you out of the agreement even if it had not expired.

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