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March 12, 2014 at 6:21 am #165519
I know I should consult a lawyer for this, but I just wanted to get some feedback from the web community first.
I previously worked for a small web design shop that I was not happy with, so I left them and started an LLP with a friend of mine. Things have been going great; we’re gaining clients, and even opened a small shop up a couple blocks from my old place of business. My previous boss is apparently taking notice, and had his lawyer send me a letter stating that I signed a non–compete agreement (2yrs, so I still have another 1.5 yrs) and that if I do indeed try to compete with this company that he will take legal action to prevent it.
My understanding is that I entered into a new business, my name is on that non–compete, not my business’ name. Do you guys think I’m ok to keep working or should I pack my bags and move to another town?
Thanks!March 12, 2014 at 6:35 am #165520AnonymousInactive
If you trust your business partner, then resign your position. Whatever money you put into the business claim that it was a loan. Have your friend (boss) hire you, then at the end of a 1.5 year trial period he can “promote you to equal partner status.
Your name is on the non-compete, not your friends and non-compete doesn’t mean you can’t work for a competitor.March 12, 2014 at 6:39 am #165521
Thanks, Michael. I had actually considered that but now that someone else mentioned it sounds a lot better. It sure beats leavin’ town like a defeated outlaw!March 12, 2014 at 6:52 am #165522AnonymousInactive
What State or Country do you live in? Some places are more strict with enforcement than others and depending on your circumstances (married, kids in school, family in the area, etc.) NCC’s aren’t always enforced with a broad brush. To uproot a family and remove kids from family and friends wouldn’t be a smart business move for your former employer. In any event, Karma is a * as they say.March 12, 2014 at 7:27 am #165525
I live in the USA, North Carolina. I’m married but don’t have any children yet. It stinks that he’s trying to intimidate me like this as he knows this is the only way I can provide for my family. He’s single and lives in a $2500/month apartment in a big city far away from here. I’m actually invested in wanting to make this a better town, a place my kids will like living in. But anyway, thanks for the advice and for listening!March 12, 2014 at 7:59 am #165527AnonymousInactive
I’ve been reading about NCC enforcement in North Carolina and found several interesting cases on Legal sites. One is here and it has some interesting points one being ” The Court of Appeals, in affirming the trial court’s decision on summary judgment, noted that North Carolina law will not enforce non-compete agreements that are intended to “merely stifle normal competition.” Id. North Carolina law supports an individual’s right to earn a livelihood “unless the restriction protects a sufficient countervailing interest of the employer.”
I would consult a paralegal or an attorney, but I doubt the NCC you signed would be enforced.
Good Luck!March 12, 2014 at 9:14 am #165537nixnerdParticipant
I violated a non-compete one time. The company had their attorney contact me. I didn’t listen and kept doing business. Nothing happened. Everything was fine.March 12, 2014 at 9:34 am #165540
Wow! Thanks, guys. That all is helping to reassure me. Will definitely consult an attorney, though!March 12, 2014 at 10:56 am #165555nixnerdParticipant
MOST non-competes are FAR too restrictive. You still have the right to earn a living. Period. Whether you signed one or not, it has to be enforceable to mean anything. I would definitely consult an attorney but from my experience… the only time you’re going to be in trouble is if you start trying to steal clients or employees. That is a big, big no no. As long as you don’t solicit their clients or talent, you should be fine.March 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm #165565
Thanks, guys. Yeah, I really have no interest in stealing his clients! I would just like to be able to hang a sign on my building and make a living. That also makes a lot of sense what Josh said; how would anyone expect me to switch from web design to say, plumbing??
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