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Can a previous employer take legal action for no compete clause if they laid me off?

Saint Paul, MN |

Was unemployed for over 3 months, found a job finally, similar to what I was doing. I am a driver that makes $12 per hour. I needed a job and was able to find something I did have experience doing.

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Attorney answers 3


The answer depends on the terms of the contract. Generally, however, such non-compete provisions may be enforceable.

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This depends on what the non-compete says. Most likely, the non-compete still applies regardless of whether you quit, are fired, or laid off. But double check the language to be sure. It is possible that there is language that says it does not apply in the event you are laid off.

Non-competes are pretty complicated since there are a lot of components to them, and a lot of intricacies regarding what courts enforce and do not enforce. I recommend you speak with an attorney on this to help sort those complications out. Plus, if there is a chance you are violating the clause, it is much better to resolve that issue now rather than take your chances and leave yourself open for a lawsuit against your prior employer. If you address this proactively you will save a lot more money than if you wait to be sued.

Best of luck.


Non compete agreements are generally disfavored in Minnesota. However, they are also generally enforceable. So, absent unusual circumstances, your former employer probably can enforce it according to the contract's terms. You should look to the contract itself and see whether it would apply to your situation or whether it has an exception.

There are some other circumstances that may make the non compete unenforceable. If it looks to you like the non compete agreement would apply in your situation, you may want to consult with an attorney to see whether other circumstances may make it unenforceable.