How to get out of a non-compete agreement?

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How to get out of a non-compete agreement?

I live in TX and work for a TN company. I was asked on my first day of employment to sign an “all-encompassing” non-compete agreement which forbids me to work for a competitor for one year after my “termination” of employment. A year and a half later I am still working for the TN company but I am interested in working for a competitor, based in CO. Are there any loopholes that I can explore to gain release from the non-compete agreement? Minor details: I have been told verbally that I am required to travel 50% with the TN company, and I have complied.

Asked on December 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to answer this question based on what you write--you need an attorney to review the document in detail, while also discussing with him your industry and position. The short answer is, non-competitioin agreements are enforceable, but may be "blue penciled" by courts and cut back in terms of how long they apply for or geographic scope if they are excessive to what is necessary to protect the employer--or excessive to what is equitable  for an employee at that level. One year is usually enforceable for more senior and/or highly compensated employees; cross- or interstate enforceability (i.e. not limited to the company's local area) is acceptable if the companies compete in an interstate market. However again, there is no way to answer your question without reviwing the agreement and your circumstances in detail.


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