Nomans Land, MA asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Massachusetts

Q: Company claims I am bound b the terms of an unsigned contract.

If I started work for a company approximately 10 years ago, and was given a contract to sign. However I chose not to sign the initial contract. Approximately 5 years later the company came up with another contract. Again I did not read or sign the contract. I was not asked for a signed contract back at any time during my association with the company. Am I bound by the contracts terms? Specifically, the issue revolves around my book of business I have built up in vacation leasing, both homeowners, and past tenants. The owners of the past RE company claim that I knew of the terms of the contracts, and by continuing to work at the company I was agreeing to the terms, thus I cannot contact any past tenants/homeowners. I had not read the contracts, thus do not know what I was or was not to abide to.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth
  • Salem, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: There is a reason such contracts have to be in writing, non-compete agreements under MA law need to be in writing. Moreover, the second contract offered appears to lack consideration. While they have a legal argument, I believe they would lose absent a writing confirming your agreement to these terms and your continued employment is not sufficient by itself. There could be additional factors that might lean in your former employer's favor so this is not intended as an absolute view and additional information could alter my answer.

You cannot induce a customer of your former employer to terminate an existing contract, but that will not stop you from contacting your client list for new business based on the limited information you have provided to me.

If you wish to discuss the matter more fully, please feel free to contact me.

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