The purpose of a non-compete agreement is to prevent employees from accessing certain information and then taking that information to a competitor. However, non-compete agreements should never deprive a person of their livelihood which is why they are normally limited, both geographically and by time. You are most likely correct in your belief that it can be defeated if the geographical boundary is the "continental United States" as that is too broad. However, please know that just because it can be defeated does not mean that you will not have to engage in a legal battle to do so.
As to your former employer's actions, I am not sure what your question is. At this point, your former employer has not engaged in wrongful behavior. Chances are that your former employer is collecting information for that legal battle that I discussed, above.
If you would like to discuss this matter futher, feel free to contact my office to schedule a consultation.
Lori A. Strobl
Strobl & Associates, Co. L.P.A.
1015 E. Centerville Station Rd.
Centerville, Ohio 45459
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Never, ever assume that a non-compete is unenforceable, especially in Ohio. If the geographic area is too broad, a judge can simply "redraw" the area to make it more reasonable, in which case you will be liable for any violations in the new area. Unfortunately, it appears that your former employer may be on to your new work activities. Non-compete enforcement actions happen very quickly and are very expensive. You should consult with an employment attorney immediately to determine whether you are liable under the non-compete and, if so, whether a lawyer can negotiate your way out of it. Feel free to call my office and request a consultation with me.
Elizabeth S. Loring, Esq.
Freking & Betz, LLC
525 Vine St., 6th Floor
Cincinnati, OH 45202
This answer is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act or rely on this answer without consulting with an attorney one-on-one. The response cannot and is not intended to replace a face-to-face or telephone consultation with an attorney, and no attorney-client relationship is created by this response in the absence of a fully executed representation agreement, even if a response was given to a question