Q: Is my non-compete agreement with my former employer enforceable?
I am a physical therapist working in New York. Recently I was given a job offer from a potential new employer that is good enough for me to accept. However, I have a non-compete agreement with my old employer that I voluntarily left in July 2022. The agreement states that for a period of 2 years, I will not directly or indirectly own, manage, operate, finance, join, control, or be connected as an employee, consultant, agent, contractor, representative, etc or otherwise engage in any clinical services for a PT company or practice within a 15 mile radius from my practice location.
This new job does fall within the 15 mile radius unfortunately. The radius covers both the county I live in as well as the neighboring county. Unfortunately I had agreed to it a new grad so I was ignorant as to how that would affect me in the future.
My question is would it be safe for me to proceed with the new job? How enforceable is this non-compete in court? Thank you in advance.
A: In general non compete agreements may be enforced but if you can show it is unreasonable and unnecessary to protect the employer’s interests, you may be able to ignore it or defeat it if the former employer tries to enforce it. This is a question of contractual interpretation and an analysis of preferential case law. Contact an attorney to evaluate your position.
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