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Posted: 10/26/2010 5:19:12 PM EDT
I'm looking at a few jobs that interest me, but I may have a dilemma.  I currently work for "Company A" and I'm pretty sure I signed a non-compete, but I don't remember 100%.

"Company B" is a direct competitor of my current employer.  "Company C" has partial, (IIRC) non-majority ownership interest in "Company B."

I'm currently looking at a position at "Company C", which could possibly have me advocating use of products from "Company B".

Could this conceivably run me afoul of a non-compete agreement?  My gut is kinda telling me yes, but I'm not sure since I wouldn't be an employee of "Company B", and "Company C" doesn't have any products that compete directly with my current employer.

Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:25:49 PM EDT
read the agreement. they're not all the same
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:31:56 PM EDT
Ran into this in the 90's going from one job to another one that did the same work in the same town. Original company sued and then eventually dropped it when our(mine and a co-worker) lawyer started to request info from them. The way our lawyer explained it was it was hard to enforce because we had to stake in the original company and were not officers of any kind just regular employees.

This was in Oklahoma and a high dollar attorney (dealt with federal issues for the indian reservation) paid for by one of the indian tribes there so I don't know if the original company just didn't think it was worth it or what.

You definately need ot speak with an attorney for you area.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:41:47 PM EDT
Check your local Laws

In some places they are worthless since they limit your employment opportunities
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:48:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 6:02:16 PM EDT by Phil_A_Steen]

Non-competes may be enforceable.  The answer differs on a state-by-state basis.  Generally speaking though you must have some element of unfair advantage that you can bring to a new employer, such as knowledge of customer lists, trade secrets, etc.  

Unfortunately for you, even if the agreement is unenforceable, your current firm can threaten your new employer with a tortious interference claim in the event the new firm causes you to violate your non-compete.  In this situation, your new employer may rescind your job offer rather than risk the ensuing battle.  In such a case, you need to be prepared to challenge the actions of your current- and soon to be former- employer.

ETA: Just checked my 50 state guide to non-competes and they are enforceable in Illinois.  Further, Illinois courts will tend to narrow them when overbroad, not simply invalidate, which is not a good development for you.

What do you do and what pecularized knowledge of your employer do you have?

Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:50:51 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Cossa:
read the agreement. they're not all the same


The one I signed at work is quite rigid.  You need to find a copy of it and let your lawyer check it out.  The interested company's lawyers will also review it if they're serious about you.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:12:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 6:15:27 PM EDT by mr_camera_man]
Thanks guys... I've looked high and low, and I don't have a copy of the agreement here.  I'd probably have to ask HR for a copy, and I'm not going to open that can of worms until much later in the process.

From what little reading I've done, it appears that both IL and my employer's home state are somewhat hostile towards non-compete agreements, so that makes me feel a little better for now.  But it's all mental masturbation unless someone at "Company C" actually returns my call and tells me more about the duties of this job.

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