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Non-Compete Question Indiana

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  • Non-Compete Question Indiana

    Hi-

    Almost two years ago, I came to work with my current company and my employer asked me to sign a contract that in addition to including details of my compensation, also included a non-compete clause. The non-compete is for competition in the 48 contiguous states for a period of 18 months. After 10 months, the company fell on hard times financially and they cut my pay 40% ($52k down to $32k). At that time, I informed the owner that this was gonna force me to start looking for a new job because I couldn't afford to stay for that salary. I even had to move out of my apartment into my buddy's basement. But he said stay as long as you can. The company then mailed me a copy of the new contract which was identical to the old one minus the new compensation amount. However, I never signed this new one. Now, I've got a job offer with the competition and they're telling me I can't go because of the non-compete I signed.

    Couple of questions:
    1) With Indiana being a right-to-work state, does the non-compete have a leg to stand on?
    2) Because the company cut my pay through no fault of my own, does that not free me from the non-compete because they altered the initial condition of employment?
    3) Since they mailed me a copy of the new contract (which I never signed), do they even have a valid non-compete agreement?

    Any other ideas? I ask here first because right now I can't really afford a lawyer, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Cris

  • #2
    You really do need to have the non-compete reviewed by an employment law or contract attorney since we can't read it.

    Also, state laws vary in relation to non-competes.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

    Comment


    • #3
      I happen to know IN does permit non-competes and holds to them fairly strictly. While I can't say for sure yours is enofrceable as I have not read it and I am not an IN lawyer, the odds are not in your favor. Changing yoru rate of pay has no effect on the non-compete. Neither does a new contract you have not signed. If you haven't signed a new one, the old one is in effect and neither invalidates a non-compete unless there is language which expressly does so in one or both of the agreements.

      Right to work has to do with union memebership and has nothing to do with this.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        As Betty3 said, take the noncompete to a lawyer for review and advice.

        Noncompetition agreements generally have to be reasonable as to time and place. The proliferation of the internet and other methods of communication and delivery of services affect the traditional idea of geographic areas of competition, but a ban on working for competitors in the entire country seems on its face to be potentially unreasonable.

        Comment


        • #5
          You do need to have the non-compete reviewed by an attorney but this is Indiana's take on non-competes per court cases.

          Non-competes are enforceable if the employer has a protectable interest. Non-competes must also be reasonable as to the scope of activity restricted. Enforceability is decided on the specific facts of each case, but some general guidelines have developed. Customer lists and information not available through industry or media sources generally will be considered confidential. Non-competes that restrict an employee from competing with an employer within the geographic area or restrict an employee from competing with the employer regarding customers with whom the employee had contact generally will be viewed as reasonable. Non-competes with a duration of two years or less usually are enforceable. Indiana courts follow the "blue pencil" rule whereby courts will strike provisions from a non-compete, but will not rewrite or add provisions.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment

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