Is the non compete enforceable?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is the non compete enforceable?

I was terminated from a job where i worked 8 years. I managed then supervised and the managed again. When I was promoted I didn’t sign a non-compete again nor did I sign another when I stepped back down to manager. The previous company whom I worked for before this last one has offered me a position with them. It is the same line of work.

Asked on September 27, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Noncompete agreements are enforceable in your state. Generally, however, noncompete agreements will not be enforced against employees who are terminated or laid off (as opposed to voluntarily leaving--e.g. quitting or resigning) unless you received some "consideration"--that is, something of valu--other than or in addition to employment for signing. That is because if the only consideration you received for the agreement was your job, when they terminated you, they took away that consideration; but contracts of any kind require an exchange of consideration, or each party giving the other something of value. If the only thing you received of value was employment, but then they took that employment away (terminated you), that will usually be interpreted to render the agreement not enforceable for lack of consideration. 
If you did receive something else for signing--debt foregiveness, if you had owed the company money; company-paid tuition; a bonus or stock; etc.--then taking away your job did not take away the consideration and the agreement would still be enforceable against 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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