Author Topic: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?  (Read 1037 times)

doneby35

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anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« on: February 27, 2020, 07:23:25 PM »
Hey everyone,

I'm curious about how non-compete agreements get enforced. In a case where an employee of a certain tech company has signed a non-compete agreement, and then decides to leave that organization and just become an independent IT contractor doing projects for other companies, can that tech company enforce the non-compete agreement? This is in Arizona by the way? Thanks.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2020, 08:49:52 PM »
Go consult with an attorney in your state....  This is literally the worst place (an Internet message board) to get legal advice.

Cranky

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 05:26:00 AM »
Read the wording carefully.

They're enforceable in some states, not so much in others.

mistymoney

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 08:39:07 AM »
what it the gist of the noncompete? is it aimed at the type of work you do or the clients you serve?

I had a noncompete but it only covered the clients from the company, not the type of work. I know others are more general.

doneby35

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 12:35:48 PM »
The gist of it is to not be able to go and work for competitors, who have a competitive product that they offer. But I was curious to know if, instead of becoming an FTE, working as an independent contractor would just make all of that not enforceable, just out of curiosity.

BlueHouse

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2020, 12:48:32 PM »
I became an independent consultant and directly competed with the services arm of a software company that I had previously worked for (and had an outstanding NDA with).  I made sure that the contracts for my company were for training, coaching, policy, standards, rather than just being a tool jockey for that particular software application.  I also called the president of the software company and let him know when I had a contract coming online where his product was installed.  He appreciated it, and even though OF COURSE they were hiring me for my expertise on that software product, that wasn't the ONLY reason.  So I think I just tried covering the bases.

My non-compete covered doing the same type of work.  I just made it so I was doing different work. 

A few years after going out on my own, they actually hired me as a consultant to go and support some of their clients.  Part of their contract included that I would always in any future work, advise them when I accepted work with a company where their product was installed.  I agreed to advise them ONLY IF the company in question was also one that I had supported when representing the software company.  In other words...any new business was mine and I was under no obligation to tell them anything about it. 


Fuzz

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2020, 01:18:50 PM »
Consult an AZ attorney. Money well spent. Unless you get a friendly AZ employment lawyer, willing to commit malpractice in public, you're not going to get any worthwhile advice this way :

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2020, 01:39:30 PM »
Non-compete law is extremely nuanced, both factually and in terms of the laws in your local jurisdiction. You need to see a lawyer about this.

doneby35

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2020, 04:38:16 PM »
Ok thank you all for the responses.

ctuser1

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2020, 06:04:34 PM »
I've broken a non-compete before.

I was a little pissed off with my first job after college (3 years in, I had now gained significant experience and proficiency and was adding a lot more value - but wasn't given the promised degree of raise/bonus).

So I rage-quit that job and jumped in the bed with a small employer for what I thought was an "independent contractor" position. I signed a non-compete without reading. You do stupid stuff when you are in your 20s and invincible.

2 months in, my old boss wanted me back with the promised raise/sign-in-bonus that I quit over. This is when I read the non-compete and found it's provisions to be ridiculous (can't work for 1 year in the same field after quitting etc.).

I consulted a NYC employment law attorney. That was a good $350 spent. The attorney even responded to my questions for free (after the initial one hour consult) and guided me through the process of extricating myself from the onerous NDA without getting into too much legal liability.

The gist I remember is that NDA itself is not worth much in most states (MA being the notable exception). However, if you piss off an employer, they can generally make your life difficult and it is possible to trip over many such legal landmines if you are not careful. This is especially true in the situation where you have to give notice, and continue to serve out the notice period with your employer knowing you are jumping ship and likely breaking the non-compete.

Just as the lawyer I saw predicted, the employer did not chase me about the non-compete after I quit. Apparently they are not easy to enforce in most states unless you are a CXO level employee.

Bottom line - see an employment law attorney in your state.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 06:07:35 PM by ctuser1 »

Capsu78

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 10:34:49 AM »
It's just an "option" an organization wants to keep open IF you start showing up in a competitive role that starts costing them money.  The only ones I have ever seen enforced were "cease and desist" letters sent to the ex employee who went into a directly competitive role involving prior customers. 

trollwithamustache

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2020, 10:45:16 AM »
I became an independent consultant and directly competed with the services arm of a software company that I had previously worked for (and had an outstanding NDA with).  I made sure that the contracts for my company were for training, coaching, policy, standards, rather than just being a tool jockey for that particular software application.  I also called the president of the software company and let him know when I had a contract coming online where his product was installed.  He appreciated it, and even though OF COURSE they were hiring me for my expertise on that software product, that wasn't the ONLY reason.  So I think I just tried covering the bases.

My non-compete covered doing the same type of work.  I just made it so I was doing different work. 

A few years after going out on my own, they actually hired me as a consultant to go and support some of their clients.  Part of their contract included that I would always in any future work, advise them when I accepted work with a company where their product was installed.  I agreed to advise them ONLY IF the company in question was also one that I had supported when representing the software company.  In other words...any new business was mine and I was under no obligation to tell them anything about it.

This guy is right on... The less it "looks" like you are competing, the less crap they can give you. Regardless of if the agreement is valid in your state or not.  For the vast majority of non-public (biz dev, presenting at conferences) roles its pretty easy to hide.  Its still worth the consult to understand your state rules. All of us Californians can be pretty cavalier about non competes.


doneby35

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Re: anyone familiar with non-compete agreements?
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2020, 02:35:32 PM »
That's what I was thinking. In any case, chances that it happens are quite slim unless there's a competitor involved. I was just unsure on how it affects someone who just decides to not work for any employer and just do projects for companies as an independent contractor. Anyway thank you all.