will non compete be valid?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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will non compete be valid?

I worked for a company for 7 years as a
graphic artist in Kansas. I have
received raises every year and bonus
increases as well. I was terminated w
no explanation. My husband would like
to start his own business in same
field….so he wants to start a
competitor site. We want to know if we
can since i signed a non compete even
tho he has no part of my previous
employer. They also changed company
names after I signed it. Please let me
know if non compete will be valid?

Asked on June 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your non-compete does not bind your husband: a non-compete is a contract, and contracts only bind those who sign them. IF the non-compete were enforceable against you (see below) you could not work for him in competition to the old company, but he could certainly start his own competiting business.
While you always need to check the exact terms of the non-compete (like you would for any contract), since the precise terms control what the non-compete does and does not allow, as a general matter, if you are terminated by your employer, especially not "for cause" (i.e. not for insubordination, violating company policies, theft of company money, services, goods, etc.), you are no longer bound by the non-compete. First, the "consideration" for the non-compete that makes it enforceable is being employed; if terminated, you no longer receive that consideration or thing of value. Secondly, as a matter of public policy and basic equity, courts don't want employers to be able to fire people then prevent them from supporting themselves and their families; non-competes generally only apply when you resign/quit voluntarily.
A name change would not render an agreement invalid, but a change in corporate entity (e.g. if the name change occured because your company was bought by another, and the prior LLC or corporation was not continued) might.

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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