Under what conditions is a non-compete unenforceable?

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2011

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Under what conditions is a non-compete unenforceable?

I have worked as a sales account executive for a media company for the last 5 months. The day I started they “forgot to mention” that I had to sign a non-compete. I was not happy and tried to dismiss it, but I had to sign it since I committed to moving down here from CT already with my family. The non-compete states that I cannot accept work for another media company (TV, radio, cable, internet) for 1 year in the Orlando market “as an account executive, or provide similar services”. I just received an offer at another media company as a Director of Sales, which is a senior management position. Can the non-compete be enforced if I leave for a much upgraded position like this? FYI, the agreement, although signed in FL, says it “will be interpreted under the laws of the State of NY without regards to conflicts or choice of law rules.”

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, especially given what is at stake, bring the agreement to an attorney to review it with and for you; the exact language of the agreement and the specifics of your situation are critical to determining enforceability.

That said, from what you write, there is a good chance it is enforceable. While non-competes are not enforceable if too broad in jobs covered, too broad in geographic area, or too long in duration:

1) The job is defined fairly narrowly, to what you actually do for the employer--account or sales executive. That's also the job you have been offered, so it would seem that the job description/scope is not too broad.

2) The Orlando market is a defined geopraphic market that seems appropriate to the job and is probably not too broad.

3) For a relatively senior persion, like a manager or an executive, one year may not be too long.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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