None compete & confidentiality contract.

Asked 11 months ago - Brooklyn, NY

I have worked in a company for 4 years and now they want me to sign a contract that limits me from working for 2 years in a similar company even though I am fired.Is that legal & do I have to sign? What happens if they fire me for refusing to sign?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Jeffrey Risman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You are under no obligation to sign, but typically consideration is provided in exchange for your execution of such an agreement. I would advise that you contact an employment attorney from the wide array of skilled and experienced advicates available via a search on avvo's database.

    The information provided does not constitute legal advice and is presented without any representation or warranty... more
  2. David Simon

    Contributor Level 6

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, it is legal. No, you don't have to sign. If you are fired, you are free to work for the competition. How you elect to deal with this situation may require that you seek the advice of an employment law attorney. There are many unknown factors - has the company offered you increased compensation or a lump sum payment in exchange for you agreeing to the restrictive covenant? Do you have an existing, written employment agreement for a specified term? what are the proposed geographic restrictions in the non-compete, if any? Etc.

    Any responses provided on this site are for informational purposes and should not substitute for a consultation... more
  3. Alix R. Rubin

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, two years is a long time for a non-compete and may not be enforceable. You should retain the services of an experienced employment attorney to review the contract before you sign it.

    The information provided above is for general purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an... more
  4. John P Corrigan

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Practical answer here: refuse to sign then you may be fired if you are an at will employee. If you cannot afford to lose your job then you will have no choice but to sign. If you later lose your job and then end up seeking employment a new employer will likely ask if you signed a noncompete agreement which makes you less marketable. Pick your poison is the choice here. I would try to delay the issue and then ask them why you should give up such valuable right without getting severance pay equal to 50% of the period you are agreeing to sit on the sidelines.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a... more
  5. Christopher Michael Curci

    Contributor Level 3

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I am not a New York attorney and I have never practiced New York law - however, I do deal with non-compete employment agreements in Pennsylvania. Often, the legal theories between states can be similar - so perhaps a New York attorney can confirm if New York law is similar to what we have here in PA.

    I can tell you that under Pennsylvania law a non-compete typically will NOT be enforced if the employee and employer enter into the agreement AFTER the employee has started his employment, and the employer has offered no new "consideration" for the non-compete agreement.

    As a general rule, every contract between two parties must have "consideration." For example, most non-competes are entered into at the commencement of employment. In consideration for agreeing to the non-compete, the employer offers the employee a job, benefits, salary, etc. A contract requires each party to give something in "consideration" for what the other party is giving them in return.

    The problem with your current situation is that your boss is asking you to sign a non-compete without any consideration. You're signing the non-compete, but what are you getting in return? You already have the job. In Pennsylvania, post-employment non-competes have been enforced in situations where they employee signed the non-compete in exchange for a substantial raise or promotion. Nominal, "I'll give you a $1,000 to sign this non-compete" have been deemed unenforceable by PA courts.

    In short, you should definitely consult with a NY attorney and ask he/she about what I've written. Good luck.

    Please note this answer is not intended nor shall it be deemed to be the rendering of legal advice. It is based... more

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