Is my employer in breach of contract or am I in violation of my non-compete clause?

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Is my employer in breach of contract or am I in violation of my non-compete clause?

I am currently entertaining an offer for a maintenance technician at a large fitness corporation. My current employer( independent fitness service company) has me under an indefinite employee contract with a no compete clause of 2 years (no geographical limits set). Upon review I found two stipulations my employer did not meet. First it was agreed in the contractthat he would pay 100% of healthcare but two years he changed that to 50% without written he written consent implied in the contract. Second he was to pay to send me to training , hotel fees and 50% of guest plane ticket.

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Bring the contract to an attorney to review with you--its precise terms and the exact circumstances are vital to understanding your rights and obligations. That said, some general principals:

1) Courts will reduce, or blue pencil, non-competes that are too long-lasting. A general rule of thumb, for rank-and-file employees (non-owners or high-level executives), non-competes of 6 - 12 months are often enforceable, but very rarely those longer.

2) Similarly, courts will cut down in geographic scope non-competes which are too broad, and go beyond what is necessary to protect this employer from competition in its market.

3) A material, or important, breach of lease terms by one party will often excuse the other party to the contract from his/her/its own reciprocal obligations; the breaches you desribe may be enough to excuse you from the noncompete.

 


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