OK, first of all, take a deep breath. There is a huge difference between being threatened with a non-compete lawsuit and actually being sued.
Nevertheless, every such threat compels a response.
If you have been threatened with a non-compete lawsuit, the first step is to evaluate the threat. Was the threat a passing remark during your termination? Did you get a “cease and desist” letter? Is the letter from an outside law firm? Is a complaint (formal legal papers initiating litigation) attached?
Next, you need to consider whether the threat is credible. In other words, do you really think that your former employer is going to follow through on their threat and actually bring an action against you to enforce the non-compete. There are several specific factors to consider when evaluating this aspect of the threat:
Is the agreement enforceable to begin with?
Has your former employer sought to enforce the agreement before?
Does it make sense for your former employer to seek to enforce the agreement against you?
Third, and finally, you need to decide whether and how to respond to this threat. If the threat is not credible, sometimes it can be ignored. If your former employer is clearly bluffing, you can call their bluff. You can respond aggressively, or respond seeking a compromise. The most important thing you need to do is to make a specific plan, based on the nature and credibility of the threat, before responding.
One important note: if you get sued for breach of a non-compete, more often than not – even if you win the lawsuit – you lose. You lose money, you lose focus, and you lose sleep. Chances are, your company has a lot more money than you. If they end up suing you for breach of non-compete, you will have to hire a lawyer, and spend countless days and nights working on your defense of this lawsuit. And, even if you win that lawsuit and the non-compete turns out to be unenforceable, you will still be out thousands of dollars, along with countless opportunities and time.
That is why our firm specializes in non-compete lawsuit avoidance.
Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC specializes in non-compete lawsuits and assisting employees who have been threatened with non-compete lawsuits. We offer immediate assistance, and offer a flat-fee program where we do everything possible for you in order to avoid a lawsuit. Call or e-mail for a free initial case evaluation. You will speak to an attorney within 24 hours.