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If I start a business that is the same business that I have been doing for a company as their employee for 9 years can they hit

Grand Rapids, MI |

me with a " non - compete " clause . I understand if I am correct Michigan is an " at will " employment State . I have NOT signed any contracts with my current company I also do not have their insurance 401k or any other benefits . I was simply hired with a start date and signed typical payroll and W - 2 forms .

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Typically, a noncompete clause is a provision in a written contract that has no power or bearing outside of a written agreement. If you did not sign a noncompete clause, then you would typically not be bound by one.

    However, as is customary and wise. Talk details with an attorney to get a better perspective.

    Please let me know if I can help further.

  2. I am unsure on one main issue. Did you have a non-compete agreement with the company you were working with previously? If the answer is yes, then it will depend, and you need to find a lawyer who can help you review your contract with your previous employer and decide what they can and cannot do. If you have never had an employment agreement with a non-compete, or any other form of non-comppete, then there is not anything they can do to you for switching jobs.

    This answer is a free service to you, and the general public based on limited facts specific only to your issue, and may not apply in every situation. To assure that your situation does not differ from the answer provided above, you should immediately consult a licensed attorney in your state with all the relevant facts and details regarding your specific concerns. Please note, this forum is not a place to communicate all the details, as this forum is public and it could limit your rights in the future. This is not an opinion under the Government Regulations contained in IRS Circular 230, which regulate written opinions about Federal tax matters. This is not such a written opinion, it is an other written communication, and was not written to be relied upon, by itself, to avoid any tax penalties. In order to receive assurances of protection from tax penalties from a written communication, you should get an opinion letter. If you would like to discuss an opinion letter relating to any matter, please contact me and I will explain what is involved and what it will cost.

  3. If you never signed a non compete, then you are not bound by it. However, that doesn't mean they won't try anyway. I suggest you contact a licensed Michigan attorney who is experienced in business law.

  4. Like Mr. Quick states above, there are issues other than a non-complete, such as law protecting trade secrets and potential claims by your former employer if customers break a contract with your former employer to get their products or services from you. There are many other business start-up issues you should consider as well, and it would be beneficial for you to speak to a business attorney about those.

    Information provided on this website is not legal advice but is for general informational purposes only. Each legal matter requires further inquiries into the facts before a conclusive legal opinion can be generated. No attorney-client relationship is established by my participation in this forum.

  5. I'm a Michigan licensed attorney and since 2001 a significant amount of my practice has focused on noncompete issues. In this regard, a noncompete agreement is generally the first line of defense that companies will use to prevent their employees from engaging in post employment competition. However, even without having a signed noncompete agreement, there are other potential legal claims that could be used to restrict your post employment activities. But in my experience, establishing these claims requires a lot more "legal work" on the part of the former employer as compared to simply trying to enforce a noncompete agreement. Take this as a friendly suggestion, carefully review any policies, employee manuals, or other documents you were provided from the employer to make sure you did not sign something only to forget about it or a noncompete provision was not buried in the agreements. Also, investing the time and money to meet with a business/noncompete attorney to carefully evaluate your situation is likely going to provide a significant return on investment in either avoiding potential litigation/liability or making sure you have a solid foundation upon which to build your business.

    For more information about noncompete agreements under Michigan law, see the link below. Best to you going forward and with your new business.

    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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