Am I still able to work for myself or anyone else?

Asked about 1 year ago - Klamath Falls, OR

I was forced to sign a non compete agreement. This agreement is very broad and does not imply location, city,state,country. In the agreement specific wording is "shall not compete directly or indirectly with the business of computer repair and graphic design and it's successors and assigns during period of employment and after termination for two years"
Under threat of legal action I am being forced to remove any samples of the work I completed for them from any and all internet sites. this includes membership freelancing sites such as behance.

Can I still work for myself or any one else doing web design as long as I never solicit any previous clients of theirs. How can I stop them from blocking my ability to make a living world wide?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brook D Wood

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . The answer to your issue is entirely dependent upon both the agreement that you signed and numerous facts that are not (and should not be) included in your post. I suggest you review ORS 653.295 (which I have linked below for you) and take a copy of the agreement to meet with an Oregon employment attorney. Try clicking "Find a Lawyer" above or call the Oregon State Bar's Lawyer Referral Service at (503) 684-3763. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

    For informational purposes only and not to be relied upon as legal advice or for the formation of an attorney-... more
  2. John M. Stafford

    Contributor Level 4

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . It all depends on the language of the agreement you signed, however, in general terms a non-compete needs to be reasonable in terms of: (1) term, and (2) geographic scope. You have only mentioned a 2-year term, with no reference to where you are prevented from working. You might be able to argue that the agreement is void as being against public policy if it is too broad in terms of geographic scope, however, this would require legal action and you should consult with an Oregon attorney that is familiar with prior case law in your state.

  3. Mishka L Marshall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Unless someone was standing behind you with a loaded weapon, you were not "forced" to sign a non-compete agreement. Your options may not have been that attractive (sign the document or find another job), but you did have a choice in the matter.

    That being said, whether the non-compete is enforceable will depend on the language in the document and the law of your state or the law of the state identified in the agreement. In some states non-competes are heavily disfavored, while other states lean toward enforcing them. The language you described sounds very broad. Have a local employment or business law attorney review the document and advise you on your options. Good luck.

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