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Overly Restrictive Non-Compete?

Discussion in 'Employment Contracts & Work Policies' started by StuckInGA, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. StuckInGA

    StuckInGA Law Topic Starter Guest

    I'm hoping to get some basic guidance with what I believe is an overly restrictive portion of a Non-Compete agreement. In reviewing the Non-Compete and Confidentiality agreement I signed with my current employer, my significant other raised concerns with the following section of it:

    2) Notification Requirement. Until the end of the period set forth in Section 1, Employee agrees to notify the Company in writing of any change in his/her address and of each new job or other business activity in which he/she plans to engage, at least 30 days prior to beginning such job or activity. Such notice shall state the name and address of any new Company and the nature of Employee's position.

    For reference, "period set forth in Section 1" is one year.

    Just taking this at face value, the section seems to be overly restrictive, in that by my reading of it I could be fired tomorrow and then unable to start a new job for a month to be able to satisfy the 30 days prior notice requirement.

    Can you tell me if my interpretation of this is accurate, and more importantly would such a restriction even be legal here in the state of GA? If not, would you advise to simply disregard that section of the agreement upon leaving the company or to approach the HR department and request that it be stricken from the agreement I signed?
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The time to have questioned any non-compete agreement is before you sign it.

    Once you've voluntarily signed it, you're stuck with that decision.

    Most people have their attorney review a non-compete agreement and use their attorney's guidance in signing it, or refusing to sign it.

    It isn't a question of the document's legality, it's whether you're bound by the contract you signed. In essence, if it were to be litigated by your employer, it would be to determine if you breached the terms of the contract you signed.

    The best way to proceed today is have your attorney review the ENTIRE agreement BEFORE you act.

    Good luck.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    There is a legal doctrine that a contract provision that is impossible to comply with cannot be enforced.

    Obviously you would not be able to comply with that provision if you took a new job within the 30 days after being fired and no court would penalize you for it.

    However, the provision could still be enforceable for any subsequent employment if the provision itself were enforceable.

    As to that, it's possible that a contractual provision that is so onerous could be ruled unconscionable and unenforceable by a court.

    Trouble is, anybody's opinion that a contract provision is unenforceable does not prevent the lawsuit from being delivered to your door. Once that happens you get to spend many, many thousands on a legal defense. Even if you win you aren't likely to get that money back.
  4. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Georgia courts are extremely strict when addressing noncompetes. They must be reasonably limited as to scope, time & geographic restrictions. You can always get an employment or contract attorney to read the agreement for his/her opinion & advice.

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