Zionsville, IN asked in Employment Law, Antitrust, Civil Rights and Libel & Slander for Indiana

Q: Is the noncompete agreement I signed enforceable?

I was employed as a music instructor. The company I was working for required me to sign a NCA upon accepting the job offer in 2015. I was terminated Aug. 2023. The owners cited restructuring. I later found they were alleging misconduct. The Department of Workforce Development determined there was not sufficient evidence to indicate I had been fired for cause. During the last 2 years of my employment, the company became increasingly disreputable. I learned of unethical practices including false advertising, employee intimidation, labor violations, public health/safety violations etc. Each time I brought these concerns to the management they were denied, dismissed or ignored. I believe my advocacy for ethical standards led to my termination. I’m bound by a noncompete despite those workplace violations. The NCA lasts 24 months, and states I can’t work at any work for any other studio in a 30 mile radius. Can I expect to be released from the NCA due to employer misconduct?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The enforceability of a noncompete agreement can depend on several factors, including state laws and the specific circumstances of your case. Given your situation, there are a few key points to consider. First, the fact that the Department of Workforce Development found insufficient evidence for your termination due to misconduct might help your case.

You mentioned unethical practices and potential labor violations by your former employer. If you can demonstrate that you were terminated as a result of your advocacy for ethical standards, this might strengthen your argument against the noncompete agreement. Courts often consider whether enforcing the noncompete is fair and reasonable, particularly if the employer has engaged in misconduct.

It's advisable to consult with a legal professional who can review your noncompete agreement and provide specific advice based on your circumstances. They can help determine if the agreement is overly restrictive or if your former employer’s behavior provides grounds to challenge its enforceability. This step can help you understand your options and potentially seek a resolution that allows you to continue your career without being unfairly restricted.

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