If I signed a non-compete agreement but was with the company for only or 3 weeks, can I be helped since now I can’t get a job?

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2016

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If I signed a non-compete agreement but was with the company for only or 3 weeks, can I be helped since now I can’t get a job?

I was with this company for less and 3 weeks and was released by them. Now, no one will hire me in my field without a release from the prior company. I’ve called them and none of my calls have been returned.

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if the employer released you or let you go (terminated or laid you off), the non-compete is not binding and prospective employers should not be afraid to hire you. The law does not enforce non-competes when the employer lets you go--non-competes prevent *you* from voluntarily leaving (e.g. quitting) and then competing.
The above said--
1) You can't force anyone to hire you if they don't want to for any reason that is not illegal discrimination (e.g. discrimination against you due to your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability)--even if their reason is incorrect, such as thinking they need a release.
2) You can't force your former employer to give you a release--they are under no legal obligation to give you a release when there is nothing to release you from (you are not obligated under the non-compete if they let you go).

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