Is a non-compete enforceable if you are fired?

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Is a non-compete enforceable if you are fired?

I started a pest control company 15 months ago, having been in the business for 8 years. approximately 8 months later, a pesticide distributor contacted me out of the blue and offered me a sales job. They made me sell my business due to conflict of interest concerns. I had to sign a non-compete clause to do so. I started that job 7 months ago and was fired only 2 months later – no reason. I found out later 2 owners of my highest purchasing clients did not like me since I was new to selling pesticides and they were best friends with my boss. Do I have a case since they took away my right to make a living? 70K year average salary.

Asked on July 9, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Enforcement of non-competes are not always limited to employees who voluntarily quit. In AZ, an employer is often able to obtain an injunction against a former employee it has fired and with whom it has a non-compete. In other words, even when your position is eliminated or you are laid off, non-competes are enforceable. However, non-competes must not be overly broad (e.g. in scope and duration). Your best bet is to take this agreement to an employment law attorney in your area for their review. Some such agreements can be invalidated. The fact is that they are difficult to enforce because they are not looked favorably upon by many courts since non-competes are viewed as attempts to limit an individual's ability to obtain employment.


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