Illegal non-compete agreement presented for me to sign

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Illegal non-compete agreement presented for me to sign

I recently took a new job in Oregon. After, now 17 days after staring my job,
my employer is attempting to have me sign a non-compete agreement that violates
state law. What should I do?

I meet all the qualifications to be covered by a non-compete in terms of being
salaried, wage level, etc. Not my first rodeo.

However, as I see it they are in violation of several Oregon non-compete laws
1. The conditions of employment in my offer letter did not state that I would
be required to sign a non-compete agreement.
2. They are trying to make me sign an agreement that lasts for 5 years. Oregon
limits it to two years.

One question I do not know is if they make the change on the length of the non-
compete agreement, can they still make me sign it after working at the company
for two weeks.

Thank You

Asked on October 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can make you sign the agreement (assuming it is otherwise legal: e.g. as to duration) even after already working 2 weeks. A non-competition agreement is a contract; a contract requires consideration, or something of value; without an actual written employment contract which guarantees your employment for a fixed duration which has not expired, such as one-year, two-year, etc. employment contract, you are an "employee at will"; that means they could terminate you at any time, without notice, for reason; therefore, you have no right to or guaranty of a job; that means that the employer continuing to employ you--not terminating you, but providing you a job instead--is consideration (something of value) that will make the agreement enforceable. And conversely: if you refuse to sign, then unless you are protected by a written employment contract as described above, your employer may terminate you.

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 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.

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