What are my options for starting my own company if I signed a non-compete with my current company?

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What are my options for starting my own company if I signed a non-compete with my current company?

I am a recruiter working at a company that recruits architects, engineers and

construction personnel. I specifically only recruit for engineers while other

employees in the company recruit on the architecture and construction desks. I have been here almost 4 years now and have decided that I’d like to start my own recruitment firm. I did sign a non-compete agreement with my current company which states that

Asked on February 14, 2017 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

New Jersey enforces non-competition agreements. Non-competes are contracts; like any other contracts, they are enforced according to their plain language or terms. You write that you may not engage  "in a business substantially similar to or in competition" with your employer. That language plainly indicates you cannot recruit architects, engineers, or construction personnel (since that's the business your employer engages in) within 500 miles if that business "competes" with your current employer--which means if your new business will be marketing your services to the same *type* of clients in the same geographic markets (i.e. to people or businesses whom your current employer would service). In short, your colleague's advice is incorrect: you signed an agreement that will substantially limit your ability to be in this line of work for a year in a several state radius; it is far more restrictive than your colleagues have indicated.


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