When does a non-compete end?

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When does a non-compete end?

I am a medical transcriptionist. About 4 years ago, I signed a non-compete agreement as a subcontractor with a larger contractor group. Due to issues with not being paid I quit last month. The hospital that I worked for has contacted me and asked me to be a direct contractor for them. My agreement states, “Will not directly or indirectly compete during or within 36 months after employment as a contractor”. The hospital contacted me. I did not pursue them. I am not sure if the within 36 months means 36 months after I went to work for them or 36 months after I left them.

Asked on November 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A noncompete's period runs from the termination of employment, not from when employment began--that is, from when you left employment.

A 36-month non-compete period for someone who was not a senior executive or business owner is very likely too long to be enforced. That does not mean, if you challenged it, that a court would invalidate it entirely. Rather, a court would most likely "blue pencil," or modify, the agreement to a more reasonable length, such as between 6 and 12 months.


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