I possibly signed 2 non-competition clauses with unaffiliated companies. Am I in trouble? Have I violated contracts? What are the consequences?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

I possibly signed 2 non-competition clauses with unaffiliated companies. Am I in trouble? Have I violated contracts? What are the consequences?

I possibly signed 2 non-competition clauses with unaffiliated companies: I was offered a position at a life insurance company, accepted, and may have signed a non-competition contract with that agency( although I am unsure, as I did not see the documents I was electronically signing). Within a week of accepting that first offer, and without having worked a day at the first establishment, I was offered and accepted a position at a different Life Insurance company. Although the document was not explained to me, I know that I signed a non competition contract with that company which states that:During the term of this contract and for 24 months thereafter, within the territory regularly serviced by the branch sales office of the company where the agent normally submits business, the agent shall not personally or through the efforts of others induce or attempt to induce:b.) any agent, Branch Sales Manager, Territory Vice President or employee of the company to contract with or sell insurance business with any company not affiliated with the Company. The agencies are both located in South Carolina, 30 miles apart, and market to non-similar customers. However, both sell life insurance and similar products.I did not intend to violate any clauses, and upon accepting the position at the second company, notified the first company with my intentions not to work for their company.Am I in trouble? Have I violated contracts? What are the consequences?

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Consult with an employment law attorney, bringing with you copies of the agreements (if you--hopefully--have them). The short answer is that if you signed noncompetition agreements with any number of companies, then violated them, you could be held liable. (Even if you did not in fact work with the first company, the fact that they offered you the job is likely enough consideration to make the agreement enforceable.) As a general matter, noncompetition agreements are enforceable, and your intention does not matter--only your actions. If you commited acts which violated an agreement you signed, you could be liable.

The long answer is that much depends on the specific language of the agreements, the exact factual situation (i.e. what you did or did not do), and also how "aggressive" the agreements are--while noncompetition agreements are generally enforcable, ones which are too "strong" and prevent an employee from working for too long, in too large an area, or too wide a field, may be reduced by the courts to more reasonable levels.  You need an attorney to review the agreements and situation with you in detail, to understand your potential liability.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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 with SHA-256 Encryption