My Photo

Firing at Will

  • Check out Jay's new book on the riskiest thing you can do at work with your clothes on.

Follow jayshep on Twitter

Become a Fan

« The pink-slip blues | Main | How to lose a wage-and-hour case »


Evil HR Lady

Excellent points. I, myself, am in favor of very narrow non-competes.

My husband had a non-compete presented to him that stated he couldn't work for anyone that was involved in anyway with medicine or pharmaceuticals. It was so broad that according to the terms, being a janitor at a hospital would violate it. He didn't sign, but even if he would have, it would have been unenforceable.

Jay Shepherd

Thanks, Evil. Your husband's story is a common one. It's good that he didn't sign it. Although you're probably right that it wouldn't have been enforceable, the reality is that the transaction cost of having to defend (and ultimately defeat) the enforcement action could have been prohibitive. Some employers — the ones we don't like — knowingly do this, realizing that they can get away with bad noncompetes. — Jay

Christopher McKinney

You are absolutely right Jay. I often tell clients that in the world of noncompetes, the medium is the message. Many companies frankly don't care if their noncompete is enforceable or not. The threat of an enforcement action acts as a poison pill to potential employers of the employee in question and the employee is fearful of having to defend herself/himself in such an action.

Loved the article by the way.


This was an excellent article. I am curious how the state of MA handles noncompetes. My old company was located in MN, and I am in MA. I think I am just going to 'roll the dice'. I would never try to solicit my old clients, and I certainly have a right to support myself and my child. Plus in the past my company has only sent 'nasty-grams' and not proceeded with legal action...

Brian Murphy

Excellent points. I am in South Carolina and these really apply here as well. Very practical advice.

Georgia noncompetes are these case won if so how much and/or how is it figured. I thought I was out of the contract by 2 yrs but apparently not. I work in one state and live in another.Any words of wisdom to handle this? I have not a clue.


I have on situation where I am working as a software developer. I got a nice offer from middle vendor and I joined him. Now my previous employer is threatening me of filing breach of contract.
What are the ways that I can protect my self?



I to have a similar situation where i am a sales rep for a rental company and i was the only employee that to sign a non-compete first he wanted a year and i said absolutely not and i reluctantly signed a three (3) month no compete to get commission owed. i have resigned from this company and started with a new one and had strong relationships with customers and he is trying to nail me to the cross legally breach of contract trade secrets it all way to broad. the bad thing about this whole situation is you have to hire a attorney and plan to spend at least $5,000.00 it really sucks.



I don't understand how the current law is functional. The 3 prongs are: 1)You Damage the company 2)It doesn't hurt your employ-ability 3) It doesn't hurt the public.

Every version of the non-compete my company has says nation wide you can not work in this industry for a year.

If the last +5 years of my career has been in this industry, how do I find employment at the same compensation level?

Doesn't this cross #2?

Todd Elliott

Excellent post, Jay.

That article was spot-on. I may print out those 8 points to hand to my employer clients. So many of them get obsessed with the language of their compete. They try to put the burden on the lawyer: hey, we have this in writing, can't YOU enforce this? It's tempting for me, the lawyer, to overestimate the non-compete in my file, especially if it has great language, like you said.

Again, great post!

The comments to this entry are closed.