If you have a non-compete agreement and want to work for another company but in a different capacity, is the ban still applicable?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If you have a non-compete agreement and want to work for another company but in a different capacity, is the ban still applicable?

I work for a security company that has provided security for a site and know we are losing the contract within the next 30 days. I have worked there for about 2 years and have never heard of and have not been told anything about ever not being able to work for that company for 2 years after I leave my security job. I was going to join their commissary and be a runner for the concessions stands. I was going to have nothing to do with the security of that facility. Can they legally prevent me from working there for 2 years if I was going to do a different position and was planning to stay employed with the security company?

Asked on February 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A non-competition agreement *is* an agreement: that is, it is a contract, or something you agreed to. You can't be stopped from working for someone else unless you signed a non-competition agreement; and if you did sign one, you are only limited to the degree or in the ways that the agreement, by its plain language or terms, limits you--that is, they can't impose broader limits than those to which you agreed in signing the agreement. On the other hand, if you did sign, at the risk of oversimplying somewhat, they can enforce whatever terms you did agree to, even if it means not working for certain other companies in other positions. So you need to look at any non-competition agreements you signed; you can be restricted in those ways--and only those ways--that the agreements say you can be. The agreements' terms will control what you can and cannot do.

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