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  • non-compete agreements

    Is my non-compete agreement still binding? I'm in a difficult situation, and could use a little guidance....

    I recently took a sales position that required me to sign a non-compete agreement that mentioned a specific company by name as a competitor.
    It seems that in the past, this company has repeatedly recruited sales people from my current employer.

    A little background is now in order regarding my current employment situation.
    My supervisor(who is an officer of the company, with an equity stake), has been behaving in such a way that the only explanation is that he is attempting to force me to quit.

    The environment is exceedingly hostile. This IS NOT Performance oriented. The reason I know this is my first full month selling I led all sales people in revenue. It is an inside sales position, so productivity is monitored via phone time, and I consistently have the highest numbers in the office there as well.

    I started in January. February I led the sales team in revenue. In March, my supervisor withheld leads (he controls them)from me for 3 weeks. He got abusive with me verbally. He threatened to send me home for wearing a shirt that he didn't feel was appropriate.(It was a conservative brown sweater with a collar, and was within the dress-casual code) I had worn this shirt every week for 8 weeks without issue.

    When I emailed him asking if I had done something wrong, he responded "You were born".(I saved the email). In April, I took a day off to take care of some legal paperwork surrounding my recent divorce. I emailed him to let him know I was taking a day off (one week ahead of time). And his reply was "Didn't know you were divorced, I'm not surprised" (I saved that one as well).

    This all began immediately after I let it be known that I am half-Jewish (ethnic background came up in conversation). My boss is British, with a Welsh-German background, and the entire office is of Northern European descent.(Brit, Irish, German last names).

    I've considered filing discrimination charges, but I know that is very difficult to prove.

    My question is this:

    Under these circumstances,
    Can I take a position at the competitor that is specifically named in the non-compete agreement?
    In other words, does my supervisors behavior (regardless of the motivations), void the non-compete? Especially considering Massachusetts is a right-to-work state?


    I believe that unless it is "open and shut" in his favor, he would not pursue the matter, as he wants me out of his office anyway.

    I would greatly appreciate any help in this matter.
    Last edited by esjay1000; 05-11-2006, 05:23 PM.

  • #2
    Generally speaking, I would recommend seeing an attorney versed in such matters, as such agreements are very case -and -state specific. Our MA attorney should be along shortly and he can give you more details.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      I'm thinking (hoping), that since my employer is not acting in "good faith", that it would effectively void the agreement.....

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      • #4
        These rarely go together. The remedy for disrimination in MA is not "voiding" a non-compete agreement. They are separate.

        It is possible that in a negotiated settlement, you could come to that same result: you release the company from your dscrimination claims in exchange for their release of your non-compete. But you should have a lawyer evaluate the non-compete first to see if its even enforceable. You might also want to evaluate the strength of your dscrimination claim before you let it got by relase.

        That way, you can make an informed decision.

        Phil
        This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

        This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

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