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

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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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