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Have a Non-Compete & Changing Companies?

What to do if you’re changing jobs after signing a non-compete agreement.

I want to talk to opportunity seekers about non-competes agreements. There are many factors to consider when working for a company where you think you may be pursued by your former employer over your non-compete agreement.

First and foremost, I want to give a disclaimer. This is no legal advice. Contact an attorney in the space, and get legal advice, but I’m just going to offer some input and some things to think about and consider when you’re in that situation.


The main thing is you want to find out what the historical trend is with your company going after ex-employees over non-competes. If they historically don’t do it, there’s good reason to believe that they may not pursue you. However, if they historically do go after people for non-compete issues, there’s good reason to believe that they are going to go after you. 


The second thing is something worth bringing up with your soon-to-be employer. Let them know you have a non-compete, let them see it, and honestly ask them if they’ve been through this situation with anyone else. Have they hired anyone from your company, or have they hired anyone with a similar non-compete? How did this situation play out, and what part did they play in it? 


Tell your soon-to-be employer you have a non-compete agreement.


Finally, a lot of this is something you can attempt to negotiate. Many companies might say no to this, but you can certainly ask that if you were to be in receipt of a legal letter saying you’re in defiance of your non-compete, and they’re seeking legal remedies to stop you from working at your new company, will your new employer have their attorney respond on your behalf so that it looks like they’re becoming your lawyer to some degree?


I would say that the difference between a company getting a response from another company versus the company getting a response from you or a solo attorney that you’ve hired is night and day. Many companies may not be game for doing it, but it’s worth asking in what ways would they be willing to back you up if your former employer comes after you over a non-compete. It’s just a good discussion to have, and you can walk into that situation with your eyes wide open.


If it turns out that they say, “Yeah, actually as soon as you come to work here, our lawyers become your lawyers in that scenario, and they can draft a response to whatever was written and sent to you.” That creates quite a different scenario than if you’re responding yourself or through a solo attorney that you’ve hired on your own.


That’s it for this week. Happy Hunting! As always, if you have more questions about this topic or anything related, call or email me. I’d love to connect with you.