My non-compete states I cannot contact any customers or prospects of my employer (regardless if they were my customers or prospects) for 15-months post-employment. Additionally, it says if my employment is terminated for any reason voluntarily or involuntarily, I cannot compete with them for 18 months.
Does this mean if I move to an unrelated field I cannot work with people who may have been customers or prospects? What if I were to move to an organization in the same industry which is not a competitor (like a supplier or a partner who does not offer the same products or services)? How am I supposed to be able to identify the prospects of other people in my organization and know not to contact them?
This is nearly impossible to answer without a thorough review of the non-compete clause itself and some insight into the industry at issue. In general, covenants to not compete are enforceable but are not highly regarded by the Courts. In order for a covenant in restraint of trade to be enforceable the covenant must 1) relate to a contract for the sale of the good will of a business or to a contract of employment, 2) be supported by adequate consideration, and 3) be reasonably limited in both time and territory. George W. Kistler, Inc. v. O'Brien, 347 A.2d 311, 314 (Pa. 1975). I’d be more than happy to discuss this in person with you
Stew Crawford Jr., Esq.
Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Pennsylvania & New Jersey
223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pa 19063 (Philadelphia Area)
The precise language of non-compete agreements is critical to interpretation. While Pennsylvania courts have found non-competes to be enforceable when they are incident to employment and the restrictions imposed are reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer's business interest and reasonably limited in time and geographic area, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has made it clear that non-compete agreements are not favored and are viewed as a trade restraint that prevents a former employee from earning a living. As a consequence, courts scrutinize restrictive covenants in employment agreements to determine whether the burden placed on the employee in the agreement is unreasonable. In order to answers the questions that you pose it is essential you retain an attorney to review the Agreement and meet with you in person to review the non-compete agreement, discuss all facts related to your employment and advise you. We would be glad to set up a consultation and suggest that you contact our office as soon as possible. Andrew Abramson, Esq., Abramson Employment Law, telephone: 267-470-4742. Also, please see our website job-discrimination.com for more information about our firm and employment law.
This is a really complicated area of law and there are a variety of issues that could be explored, such as, whether the non-compete is enforceable in full or part, what state law governs the agreement, the breadth of the non-compete and whether it expressly includes suppliers or partners in its language. If you are contemplating an employment move or if you are concerned about the future given this non-compete, you should consult in-person with an attorney and go over the provisions of the agreement and the applicable law.