What are my options for starting my own company if I signed a non-compete with my current company?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my options for starting my own company if I signed a non-compete with my current company?

I am a recruiter working at a company that recruits architects, engineers and

construction personnel. I specifically only recruit for engineers while other

employees in the company recruit on the architecture and construction desks. I have been here almost 4 years now and have decided that I’d like to start my own recruitment firm. I did sign a non-compete agreement with my current company which states that

Asked on February 14, 2017 under Business Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

New Jersey enforces non-competition agreements. Non-competes are contracts; like any other contracts, they are enforced according to their plain language or terms. You write that you may not engage  "in a business substantially similar to or in competition" with your employer. That language plainly indicates you cannot recruit architects, engineers, or construction personnel (since that's the business your employer engages in) within 500 miles if that business "competes" with your current employer--which means if your new business will be marketing your services to the same *type* of clients in the same geographic markets (i.e. to people or businesses whom your current employer would service). In short, your colleague's advice is incorrect: you signed an agreement that will substantially limit your ability to be in this line of work for a year in a several state radius; it is far more restrictive than your colleagues have indicated.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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