How to get out of a non-compete agreement?

UPDATED: Dec 20, 2011

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How to get out of a non-compete agreement?

I live in TX and work for a TN company. I was asked on my first day of employment to sign an “all-encompassing” non-compete agreement which forbids me to work for a competitor for one year after my “termination” of employment. A year and a half later I am still working for the TN company but I am interested in working for a competitor, based in CO. Are there any loopholes that I can explore to gain release from the non-compete agreement? Minor details: I have been told verbally that I am required to travel 50% with the TN company, and I have complied.

Asked on December 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to answer this question based on what you write--you need an attorney to review the document in detail, while also discussing with him your industry and position. The short answer is, non-competitioin agreements are enforceable, but may be "blue penciled" by courts and cut back in terms of how long they apply for or geographic scope if they are excessive to what is necessary to protect the employer--or excessive to what is equitable  for an employee at that level. One year is usually enforceable for more senior and/or highly compensated employees; cross- or interstate enforceability (i.e. not limited to the company's local area) is acceptable if the companies compete in an interstate market. However again, there is no way to answer your question without reviwing the agreement and your circumstances in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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