I am a hairstylist in KS who left my salon. My contract has a 2 yr, 5 mile
straight line radius non compete. I have clients I serviced at the old salon who have contacted me, wanting to follow me. In this contract it says I can't solicit/service any clients I had done at the salon for 2 yrs. How is this possible? How am I supposed to earn a living? I've not solicited them and they've found me! Also, I had a co-worker who was majorly under the influence of heavy drugs and alcohol, would come to work still high on drugs and alcohol. I confronted my boss with my educational director, and my boss swept it under the rug. I feel I could not work for someone who did not have any ethics, especially since this issue is addressed in our "contract" as "grounds for termination. What can/should I do?
KS courts will enforce reasonable non-competes, which was something you might have considered before you signed this document and before you apparently took a job within the prohibited geographic area you agreed not to service your former employer's clients in.
What your co-workers did or didn't do and how your former employer treated them have nothing to do with you, and while you may find it to be a convenient justification for your own breach, the fact is it sounds like you're breaching your non-compete agreement.
KS is a big place, and you can get another job farther away, or you can take the contract you signed to an employment lawyer to get it reviewed to see if there's some argument you can use to defend yourself if you're sued.
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT, EMAIL ME OR PHONE ME. I'm only licensed in CA. This answer doesn't make me your lawyer, and neither do follow-up comments and/or emails and/or phone calls, and you shouldn't expect me to respond to your further questions if you haven't hired me. We need an actual agreement confirmed in writing before any attorney-client relationship is formed. This answer doesn't constitute legal advice, and shouldn't be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
I'm not sure how much experience you have with hair stylist but to tell a stylist that Kansas is a big place and they can just move far away is pretty unreasonable. Stylist's clients are largely unwilling to travel to a new location especially one that is far from their current salon. That being said, yes it does look like you are probably breaching your non-compete, and since the restriction is only five miles and only limited to two years then it sounds pretty reasonable. Courts in Kansas will enforce reasonable non-compete agreements. I would talk with the shop owner and see if you can negotiate to release yourself from the agreement, or get a waiver. Good luck to you. If you need help feel free to contact me. If you left on good terms it has been my experience that a Salon owner will sometimes let you out of the agreement.
Law Office of Brandan Davies LLC. www.kcticketguy.com This is not legal advice. No Attorney/Client relationship has been formed. I may or may not be licensed in your jurisdiction. Please consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for state specific advice.