As a general rule, non-compete agreements are viewed with disfavor by the legal system, but they will be enforced if they are reasonable as to length of time, geographic or market reach, serve the legitimate interests of the employer, are not used simply to stifle competition and do not harm the public interest. The only way for you to get useful guidance on this issue is to invest in a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer. Many attorneys, myself included, will review documents...
This forum is for general legal questions and answers. You are asking the attorneys in this forum to work on your particular case for free. Whatever you do for a living you expect to be paid for it. We're the same. It sounds like you are proceeding without a lawyer. I strongly urge you to hire one. If you have a lawyer, ask him. He knows your case and we don't.
I am currently working on a similar case on behalf of an employee who claimed a medical exemption. As a result, I have some familiarity with the issues you face. A lot depends on the nature of the business you are in and the basis for your claim of religious exemption. You should consider investing in a consultation with an experienced discrimination attorney. Good luck.
You are operating under a misconception. There is no single form of agreement under which lawyers are paid for all types of cases. Generally, it is only in personal injury cases that are taken on contingency where the attorney is paid at the end of the case so long as he is successful. In New Jersey, an attorney is ethically prohibited from taking on a family-law case on a contingency. Other cases call for other payment terms. Good luck.
You could have no defense if you are an at-will employee. Such employees can be fired for any reason or no reason at all so long as it is not an unlawful reason. If you are terminated, invest in a consultation with an experienced employment attorney to get a full handle on your options. Make sure you have a copy of the employee handbook since that could provide some protection for you.
New Jersey rules of court place a cap on what an attorney can earn in a contingency-fee case. If it involves a minor, the cap is 25 percent, one-third if the case goes to trial. R. 1:21-7(c)(6). No ethical attorney would agree to take more. Further, as my colleague points out, malpractice cases are expensive to take on. They require the attorney to hire a medical professional to review the case and determine whether the dentist deviated from the standard of care. This, alone, can cost several...
Contact your former manager and HR and stress to them that you are at risk of losing your new job if the letter doesn't go out. Don't threaten, just explain and ask for their cooperation. Bear in mind, they are under no obligation to release you from the non-compete, no matter how vague it is. Even if it is unenforceable, a prospective employer could well see it as a source of potential litigation and pass on you to avoid the hassle. Good luck.