Into the office to sign a new agreement. I refused because it was to extend my non compete by a year. Looks like they thought i was going to sign new one and was caught off guard. Think they made a huge mistake by terminating the previous agreement. Shouldve still been in place just in case i didnt sign the new one. What do you think?
Like most legal questions, the answer is it depends. For example, it is only a mistake if you leave and take business with you. It would be a very good idea to consult with an employment attorney to discuss strategy.
If I am reading your question correctly, you are asking if your employer made a mistake by terminating your current non-compete agreement before asking if you would sign a new one. I agree with Mr. Forman's answer. It does depend on an understanding of the specific facts of your case. Do you need to have an employment agreement in place to continue your employment with the company? Are you planning on leaving and taking current business/clients with you? When was the original agreement planned to terminate? All of these questions would affect any legal opinion. And, as is the case with any contract, the specific terms would need to be reviewed before any valid legal opinion could be given. It is best to consult with an experienced employment attorney to discuss any issues that may arise as a result of your refusal to sign the new agreement.
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Any time there is a change in a non-compete agreement or a new non-compete agreement, there needs to be new "consideration" for that change or new non-compete to be effective. In other words, you have to be getting something in return for it. That could be, for example, a raise, a new promise of continued employment (i.e., a new employment contract), etc. Good non-competes, though, can be drafted to last, not only through the life of the given contract, but through the actual employment as well. For example, the non-compete can be in effect for two years after your actual employment ends, not just after the contract expires. One would need to review the original agreement and the new one they wanted you to sign.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to provide legal advice for your specific situation.
I agree with lawyer Fairlie and the others who say "it depends". No one here can read what once was the non-compete and what is proposed as the new one.
However that said, assume you did not sigh the non-compete anyway. You are still obligated, if you leave your employment, to keep your former employer's secrets, client lists and other proprietary information confidential. The reason why is that most states have a trade secrets act which often covers intangible property that belongs to the employer which the employee cannot legally exploit anyway without incurring liability and possibly exposing a new employer to a lawsuit for tortious interference.
I would suggest that you have a lawyer review both the old non-compete that was terminated, and the new one. As far as consideration to support the new one, well your employer does have a right to terminate your employment, so keeping your job and future employment may be good and sufficient consideration to support a new non-compete.
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