(Typical conversation when someone calls our office re: their non-compete)
Q: What happens to your non-compete when you are fired?
A: It depends.
Q: On what does it depend?
A: It depends on the state you work in, and your individual contract.
Q: I’m confused – why would the state matter?
A: Every state law is different when it comes to enforcement of non-compete agreements. Recent Illinois case law may say your non-compete becomes void if you are fired without cause, but Virginia law does not care if you were fired, quit etc. Each state law is different.
Q: So, I was fired, is the agreement enforceable?
A: I would have to see your agreement to know what the terms of enforcement are.
You see where this is going. We need to review your contract before we can answer this question. If you are fired however, here is some common sense advice on how to leave graciously and avoid being sued later:
1. Don’t email or download anything that last day without permission – looks suspicious
2. Be kind and gracious
3. Don’t make threats to sue, or compete – just leave
4. Don’t post anything on Facebook or LinkedIn etc. about what an @%$%^$%^ your old boss is.
5. Ask for a copy of your employment agreements – so you know what terms you are bound by
And if you need help determining what you can and cannot do under your agreement, call our office.