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Restriction to serve the employer for 1 year after joining.

Jersey City, NJ |

I want to quit my employment with my current H1B employer ( He sponsored my H1B and brought me to the US in Feb 2014). I have had signed my offer letter which said that I MUST serve my employer for 1 year. Is this kind of restriction legal?

Secondly, my offer letter also had a NON-Compete Clause. I am NOT joining the same company or client or vendor. This should be fine. Isn't it?

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Attorney answers 4


Such a condition may or not be legal and be held as enforceable (or not) in the law of the state where you currently work. You'll need to spend a fistful of dollars and have an employment or contracts lawyer in your state check that. A non-compete clause will, on the other hand, undoubtedly hold as valid. To know whether "fine" or not, again, ask a contracts lawyer.

Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


Check the one-year restriction with an employment contract lawyer in your state: there is certainly nothing in immigration law that makes an employment agreement anything other than at-will, so its enforceability where you are is a question of state law. Likewise, the enforceability of a non-compete clause would be an employment or contract law question depending on applicable state law.

This is general information only. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice specific to your circumstances, you must consult an attorney in a confidential setting, not in an online forum.



Thanks for the Answer. I work in NEW JERSEY state. Can you suggest if one year restriction applies in NJ?

Karin Wolman

Karin Wolman


No, I am not an employment lawyer. You really need to consult one-on-one with an employment lawyer in NJ and show them the agreement in question.


Yes, unfortunately, this could be legal under NJ employment law ... talk to an employment lawyer in NJ.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.


You should retain an employment attorney to review your offer letter to determine whether it is enforceable.

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.

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