If I sign a job contract that is also agreeing to an attached non-competition agreement and the job contract is not honored, is the NCA void?

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If I sign a job contract that is also agreeing to an attached non-competition agreement and the job contract is not honored, is the NCA void?

I signed a job contract that stated I would be paid $2800 per month salary and that by signing I also agree to an attached non-competition agreement. For 3 or so months there after my pay was $2799.36, and similar for the other two, because they broke it down hourly because of holidays. Is the short change voiding the job contract? And if the job contract is void is the non-competition agreement void as well?

Asked on February 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, a shortfall of $0.64 per monthy would NOT void the employment contract. A contract may be terminated by one party without penalty if the other party violated or breached it in a material, or important way--and a discrepancy of substantially less than the price of a cup of coffee is not material or important. To put it in a different way--the "short changing" amounts to less than 1/30th of 1% per month, according to what you have written.

Second, if the noncompetition agreement were completely integrated into the employment contract--for example, it was one clause of the contract--then if the employment contract were breached in a material way by the employer, that would  also let you terminate the NCA. But f the NCA is a separate agreement, it is not necessarily the case that breaching the terms of the employment agreement terminate the NCA, too--when there are multiple contracts between two parties, they are not necessarily dependent on each other. Whether the NCA would be terminated in this case depends on the exact breach of the employment agreement; there are breaches of the employment agreement which would give you the right to sue to enforce the contact and/or for compensation, but which would not automatically terminate the NCA.


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