What to do if my employer wants me to sign a non-compete that states I can’t work, own, consult, or manage during my employment?

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What to do if my employer wants me to sign a non-compete that states I can’t work, own, consult, or manage during my employment?

I work at a day spa as a massage therapist and Esthetican. The non-compete also states for 1 year after I terminate my employment there. However, there is a “right to work law” in my state.

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Texas is generally a right to work law state.  However, this last year the Supreme Court of Texas has really changed the landscape of non-compete agreements-- and employment law attorneys are still waiting to see the effect of this opinion.  Regardless, this opinion does authorize employers to enter into non-compete agreements with employees as a condition of their employment.  The agreement must be reasonably related to the business.  For example, they can't ban you from doing cake decorating-- because that would not be in direct competition to their business.  There must also be some consideration for the agreement.  Consideration is the exchange-- I'll do this if you give me this.  This is where the law is currently fuzzy.  It's not enough for the employer to require the signature, he has to tender some real consideration in exchange for the non-compete---- otherwise it becomes unenforceable.  Before you sign this agreement, pay a consulation fee to have an employment law attorney look at it and make sure that you are receiving adequate consideration and that you are not being overly restricted.  This may not seem a big deal now, but if this employment relationship goes south in a year, this agreement could impact your ability to earn a living.  The time to cover your basis is now. 


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