Would a non-compete agreement with an ex-employee and previous employer be enforceable?

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Would a non-compete agreement with an ex-employee and previous employer be enforceable?

If an employer terminated your employment and a client of that employer decided to terminate their relationship with that employer and contacted the ex-employee to offer a position with their corporation. There was a non-compete signed by the employee with the previous company. The employee did not solicit any clients of the previous employer in any form, including the client in this situation. Would the non-compete agreement prevent the ex-client from engaging this person for employment?

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally, non-competition agreements are not enforceable if the employer terminates the employee; they typically only apply if the employee voluntarily leaves employment. There are exceptions, though: if the agreement specifically states it would apply in the event of termination, layoff, etc.; or if the employee was given something beyond his/her employment--e.g. a bonus, a promotion, severance--as consideration for signing the agreement. Therefore, to definitely answer your question and make sure this isn't one of those situations where the agreement would still be enforceable despite termination, if is important to have an attorney review the specific facts and language of the agreement.


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