Those slimy dirtballs! What do you do? What can you do?
There are no guarantees but many courts find this type of conduct to constitute “unclean hands” on the part of the employer and refuse to enforce the non-compete. The following case decisions reflect how the courts see this issue:
o An Arizona court refused to issue an injunction enforcing a non-compete clause where the employee was not told of the necessity to sign a non-compete until after he quit his previous job and reported to his new job. The court found the employer’s conduct provided the employee with an “unclean hands” defense.
o A New Hampshire court determined that an employer acted in “bad faith” when it presented the non-compete agreement to the employee on the first day of his new job and refused to enforce the agreement which the employee felt he was required to sign.
o A Virginia court (Circuit Court in City of Richmond )has held that an employer who presented a non-compete agreement to an employee after already hiring the employee cannot later enforce that agreement due to the employer’s “unclean hands” and the lack of consideration given to the employee for signing the non-compete agreement.
So the point is this…just because you were forced into signing a non-compete agreement by a heavy-handed employer…you may still have valid and legal defenses to the enforceability of the non-compete.