I am a licensed Insurance Agent in the state of Washington. After a lay off is a noncompete valid?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Bremerton, WA

I was released a year ago. My former employer had me sign a noncompete stating i would not work with in 25 miles of her office for 2 years. I am bilingual and targeted the Spanish speaking communities. I have begun working for another agency and she is now telling them she will enforce the noncompete. There is nobody in her employ that speaks Spanish. She had not been compensating me prior to my leaving for any marketing that I was doing on my own time to that group. She is stating that this is a group that she does not want me to go after because of her investment in me when I was in her employ. My husband and I have frequented restaurants and stores over the years in these communities developing freindships and relationships between ourselves and people. Is this valid?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Daniel E Stowe

    Contributor Level 8

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    Answered . You should consult local counsel to discuss the facts of your case, review the employment agreement, and the specific non-compete language. Generally, non-competes are valid if (among other things) they are supported by consideration and are reasonably limited to scope and duration. Your agreement may also have an attorneys' fees provision which allows the prevailing party to recover fees and costs if there is a dispute regarding the validity (or invalidity)of the contract terms. Retain local counsel.

  2. Alexander J. Higgins

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . It may be valid but it depends on a number of factors. A layoff does not necessarily void a non-compete.
    Buena suerte.
    -Alex J. Higgins

  3. Daniel A Swedlow

    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . Sometimes a non-compete will become unenforceable if the reason for the separation from employment was termination or lay-off. The individual facts of your case, the language of your non-compete and the language contained in any other documents or emails between you and your former employer are all part of the equation and should really be analyzed by a lawyer, especially before you just assume the non-compete is unenforceable.

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