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Can a non-compete agreement regarding former students and large monetary compensation be upheld?

New York, NY |

I'm a musical theatre teacher and I once taught a class for a company and one of the students approached me asking to take private classes (I did not solicit and the focus of the class is entirely different than that of private lessons). I've been teaching the child ever since and the company would like to hire me again, asking that I sign a non-compete agreement in action for an unspecified amount of time and radius that will prohibit me from communicating with any current or PAST students of the company. If I violate this, they demand 10,000 dollars. I did not solicit the student and she hated the other class she took there. She simply did not like the other teacher. Could they pursue this? Also, what if other students I teach are past clients and I just don't know about it?

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Attorney answers 3


Non-competes for an unspecified amount of time are generally not enforceable in NY. You should retain experienced employment counsel to help you negotiate a reasonable non- compete.

The information provided above is for general purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Seek competent legal representation, because the facts of each case are different.


Non-competes are very fact specific and there are too many missing facts to get an accurate answer. While I don't like to give vague answers, without spending 20-30 minutes at least discussing this and seeing the actual agreement, I would be guessing. I have handled numerous non-compete cases and each one is different and turns on the specific facts at issue.


The validity of a Non-Compete centers around the restrictiveness in terms of both time period and geographic area covered. The clause can either be thrown out or scaled back if challenged and found to be unreasonable. I'd suggest you discuss more details on your specific situation with an attorney before going any further. Being proactive in resolving this can help you resolve the fear of enforcement and also ease your mind as you take on students. Best of Luck.

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