I was recently laid off and have a new job offer in a related industry but NOT the same line of products. My new company may be acquired within the next 60 days by a parent company that DOES have a competiting division & line of products. Although I am not in the division of the company with the competing product, nor will sell the competing product, would I be in breach of my non-compete with my old employer if this acquisition takes place duirng the first year my non-compete is still valid? How was I to know this company would be bought by a competitior in the future?
The answer may well depend on the language of your contract, so you'll want to have an employment attorney review it. If you had no information about this product line, I'd certainly question whether or not they have a legitimate interest to protect. The easiest way to get an answer is to tell your old company, in writing, that you have a job offer from this company and tell them that you don't believe it will be in violation of your non-compete. Tell them that, unless they object within, say, 72 hours from the date of your email or fax, that you'll feel free to accept. They'll either say fine, or say they object. Then you'll know whether or not you have a big decision to make. If they say verbally they don't object, confirm that in writing and say you're accepting relying on this representation. But I'd definitely suggest getting specific legal advice on your contract first.