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Non-competition Agreement in Austin Texas

Austin, TX |

I work as an analyst at a client location through my IT service company. I have a Non-competition Agreement with my ex company which basically prevents me for 18 months and within 50 miles radius to work for comp[any's clients or prospective clients. I have joined another company to continue to work at current client location.
I do not have any comapny trade secrects, nor did the company impart me specific skills required for the job, nor did it provide me any incentives apart from my salary. If I don't work at the client location, I will lose my livelyhood and have to migrate to another city along with my pregnant wife and school goings kids.

Can they enforce the Non- competitive clause? Is it worth the time and money to pursue it legally?

Please advice and help me.

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Attorney answers 1


You've obviously done a little research on this question, and you are on the right track. Although I cannot advise you on your specific situation without more information, I can tell you the following general information.

In Texas, a post-employment non-compete agreement must have the following to be valid:
- reasonably limited period of time and geographical scope
- an agreement by the employer to give the employee something over and above the employment itself. Usually, this is confidential information that the employee would not be given absent the non-compete agreement.

There are some other factors that may be relevant, but those are the biggies.

Most non-compete clauses are tough to violate because companies in industries where they are regularly used ask job applicants whether they are subject to a non-compete. Even if you do not believe your non-compete is valid, a company may not hire you because of the risk of the prior company coming after you to try and enforce it.

If you are job hunting and have a non-compete clause that you believe is not enforceable, you do take a risk in violating the terms because the company may believe it is valid, and they may try to enforce it. Whether the company will do so, who knows. There are some ways to make an educated guess, like whether they have tried to enforce the clauses before, and whether you left on good or bad terms, etc. But they are only guesses.

If you can get the company to waive the non-compete, or to agree that it is not enforceable, you're golden. But then they're on notice that you might not abide by it.

Strategy is everything.
And again, I must state that the above is general information, and not specific advice for your situation.

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