Legality of a Non-Compete Clause

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Legality of a Non-Compete Clause

Working on a freelance writing project for a company that wants me to sign a non-
compete which prevents me from providing any writing services to any competing
company. It is my understanding that this is a misuse of that type clause i.e.,
such a clause should be meant to keep me from taking the company’s clients but
it’s also illegal because it prevents me from earning income. Am I right? Is this
illegal?

Asked on July 29, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are wrong. An agreement preventing you from taking their clients is definitely legal but is a "non-solicitation" agreement technically, not a non-competion (though it is often confused with and/or combined with a non-competiton agreement). A non-competition agreement, or an agreement preventing you from working for competitors, is legal and enforceable in your state, though it is true that MI courts will limit them to reasonable time periods if the employer seeks to enforce them against you--typically, to 6 months to 1 year for non-executive employees.


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