Can a place of employment control what you do after you quit or are terminated?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a place of employment control what you do after you quit or are terminated?

In a contract that was written at a daycare, there is a part where it states that if you leave the daycare and begin working at another daycare or open your own within 1 year of your last day of employment, that you will be required to reimburse the daycare for all training paid on your behalf. In the case that I would open my own daycare after termination of employment, I agree not to enroll any clients of the daycare for a period of 1 year without prior approval of the licensed provider. After all this is stated we are to sign it. Do they really have that much control?

Asked on January 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

What you are referring to here is what is known as a "non-compete" clause or "covenant not to compete" (some courts refer to these as "restrictive covenants"). It is a term used in contract law wherein an employee agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against their employer. While not favored by courts, so long as they are not to broad in scope (e.g. geographihic area), not too long in length (typically no longer than 3 years) and adhere to the basics of contract law (i.e. consideration given), then they are legal.

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