What to do if I want to join sub-contractor but I have a non-compete with my current employer?

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What to do if I want to join sub-contractor but I have a non-compete with my current employer?

I have an employment agreement with a company who pays me 70k a year with benefits. They have a subcontractor who has placed me at the end client. I was interviewed by sub contractor first and then the end client and then got the position. My initial contract was 6 months which ends in a day and the client is willing to sign another one. I gave my current employer fair chance to negotiate a better pay rate but they failed. Now subcontractor is offering 120k a year without benefits which I want to take but my existing employer says I have a non-compete agreement with them. Yes, I signed a piece of paper and I have served them for 6 months. I work hard and earn and they just take cut out of my paycheck. Would that be enforceable? I mean I haven’t taken their intellectual property nor taken any training for them. They just searched some opportunity on dice and the rest I did. They’re threatening me now. Need help. I just moved here and I’m very low on money and want to do something good for my family. The terms of the non-compete are 18 months and if I breach, $12000 and other damages.

Asked on June 28, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A non-competition agreement is generally enforceable in Alaska. The courts examine them closely, and will reduce the duration or georgraphic area covered of ones that are unnecessarily restrictive (go further than necessary to protect the employer's legitimate interests). Without knowing the terms of what you signed, we can't say to what extent your agreement will be enforced, but we will say that 1) it is not inherently illegal or unenforceable; and 2) agreements to not work with clients or contractors of the employer are almost always enforceable, on the grounds that you were introduced to those clients or subconctractors by the employer, and employers have a reasonable and legitimate interest in preventing their employees from using contacts made by the employer to compete with or take work away from the employer. So they probably can stop you from doing this.


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