Is a non-compete employment contractbinding for a part-time employee?

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Is a non-compete employment contractbinding for a part-time employee?

I signed a form which states that I cannot go to work with another company in the same business for 1 year after I quit. I am only getting 3 days per week and the new job is offering me 5 days work per week. Can I get sued?

Asked on March 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

Michael Freilich / Freilich Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Different states approach these problems differently. In addition to the other answers, it is important to determine if the contract has a clause relating to where lawsuits must be tried, whether it suggests or dictates what law should apply. Also there are some other restrictions which may come to light, for example, if this were a position in which you were a lawyer, in some states it would be invalid as a matter of law, in other states it may be binding. So we'll really depend among the other factors on what work you did, where your located, what law applies, and whether it is "reasonable." Be careful to determine your agreement is a true noncompete, frequently these are tied to confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements and/or clauses. Depending upon the facts passivity or matter, you may want to consider filing suit for court to determine whether what you plan to do is enforceable. This is frequently referred to as a declaratory judgment action. One this type of suit is filed the employer needs to determine how much, if any, the employers prepared to spend to enforce the agreement. In some cases being proactive is very effective.

Bradley Miller / Miller Law LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are really two issues here. First is whether a non-compete can be binding on a part-time employee (and if you can be sued over it). The answer to that question is yes. Non-compete agreements apply equally to full and part-time employees, as well as independent contractors. How often you work is irrelevant. The important part is that you signed it.

The second issue is whether the non-compete agreement you signed is valid and binding on you. For a non-compete to be enforceable, it must be reasonable. What is reasonable depends on your agreement and the situation, because there are many factors, such as the length and geographical reach of the prohibition, that that are relevant and will be looked at. The only way you will know for sure is to talk to an attorney who can look over the agreement and help determine whether the non-compete is reasonable and enforceable.

Good luck.


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