Is an NDA/non-compete enforceable before employment starts?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is an NDA/non-compete enforceable before employment starts?

Currently, I have various offers from firms in my field. I have signed an NDA with a firm with an effective date of my start date. I have also verbally accepted another offer from another firm but not the same type of firm yet in the same industry. That being said I was wondering if the NDA/Non-compete in enforceable if I choose not to carry forward with the firm that I signed the non-compete with.

Asked on August 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they are enforceable before start date if the employer would have started you but you decline the job: once you sign a contract, its terms are enforceable against you so long as the other side has not breached or violated its obligations. Its readiness and willingness to perform (to give you the position) is "consideration" (a promise or provision of something of value) which binds the agreement, the same way that if you sign a lease for an apartment, if it is available  to you, you are bound to the lease even before the date you take possession of the unit and move in.

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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