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Can an employer force you to sign a non-compete when you have been at the company for more than 20 yrs?

Madison Heights, MI |
Filed under: Employment contracts

Company is revising their handbook that is over 10 years old. In it, they are requiring all employees sign a non-compete. We have never had this before. I do not want to sign it. What can I do if I am fired for this? I am at at-will employee, so I am sure they will try to come up with another reason to fire me. Suggestions.

Attorney Answers 3


I have added two links to this answer which talk about at-will employment and non-compete agreements. First, you

Attorney's answer to this question is given for informational purposes only. Every factual situation is different and changes the application of the law to those facts. You should not rely on the answer as advice for your situation. By answering this question, no attorney-client relationship is intentional created, nor should one be implied. Before taking any actions, you should consult with an attorney to advice you on your specific situation.

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1 comment

Travis I. Dafoe

Travis I. Dafoe


Sorry . . . To complete my answer. First, the employer can make signing a noncompete agreement a term or condition of employment. If they terminate you for refusal to sign, there is no recourse. Second, you noted that they will just come up with another reason, but they actually don't need a reason to terminate you. You should look over the above link about noncompete agreements and check yours to make sure it is not too broad. You may even want to have an attorney review the agreement.


I'm a Michigan licensed attorney. Since 2001, I've focused on employment law issues, including working with employers and employees to address noncompete issues.

I would certainly encourage you to check out the links provided by Mr. Dafoe as they are good resources. Additionally and going back to your question, your employer can't "force" you to sign a noncompete agreement. But your employer can condition your continued employment upon you signing a noncompete agreement, even if you have worked for the employer for a substantial amount of time. While for most employees such a situation really is not a fair choice, Michigan courts have found that continued employment without anything more is sufficient consideration to support a noncompete agreement. You may have potential defenses for why the noncompete agreement is not ultimately enforceable, those issues should be addressed with competent legal counsel, which I highly recommend before signing any agreement that may ultimately restrict or limit your future employment options. For information about enforceability issues, see the link I've provided.

Please go to for more information about my professional experience. But in sum, I'm licensed to practice law in Michigan. My response is provided only to educate the public about general issues that may need to be discussed with competent legal counsel in your state. My response is not a substitute for consulting an attorney in order to fully understand how the law may apply to your specific and unique circumstances; Remember, you often get what you pay for.

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Talk to an attorney BEFORE you sign ANYTHING!!!


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