What to do if my employer wants me to sign a non-compete that prevents me from working in the same field even though I would not be selling the same product?

UPDATED: Feb 13, 2012

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What to do if my employer wants me to sign a non-compete that prevents me from working in the same field even though I would not be selling the same product?

The non-compete that my employer wants me to sign (after working here for almost 7 years) would prevent me from working within the same industry. I am applying for a sales position which I would not be selling directly to their current customers in B2B outside sales but would be working on the wholesale side selling to dealers. The violation is $50,000 that they would per sue. What rights do I have? I have not signed the agreement yet.

Asked on February 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


Catherine Taylor / Broadbent & Taylor

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Non-compete agreements must be reasonable in duration, scope, and geography. If the agreement your employer is asking you to sign only says something along the lines of "you cannot work in _______ industry during or following your employment with ________ company" this would likely be unenforceable as too broad. If the scope of the non-compete covers a limited geographic area and is only effective for a few years, it may well be enforceable. If your current job is not in direct competition with your previous position, you are probably ok. I would suggest that you take the non-compete agreement to an employment attorney in your area and have them review the specific language. I would hold off on signing anything until you have an opportunity for a lawyer to review the language.  

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