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Has anyone had the opportunity to violate the noncompete for a better job and took it? I work for a big company with a lot of bs and a lot of people are leaving. I have heard of other PAs that violated it in the past and had no issues, maybe that’s because the company just didn’t find out. My employer has sort of breached the contract, they promised a certain amount of hours and now are starting to cut hours. It says in the contract if they were to sue me, I’d be responsible for their attorneys fees. I really want to consider this other opportunity though. I guess just looking for experiences of people who have been through this. 

Edited by Wish1pa
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They are difficult to enforce but easier than they were 10 years ago. Courts have taken a bit more liberal approach to them in the past few years.

You have now learned a valuable lesson. I have to pay for you to sue me? Nope...never sign that. One of the main reason employers often don't take action on a non-compete is the cost associated with taking action. You removed that barrier when you agreed to pay thier legal fees.

I have maintained that if the employer breaks the employment contract first it is all void. That doesn't carry the day legally all the time.

Bottom line? Spend $100 to consult an attorney. It is highly likely you can walk away and be safe but you never know.

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48 minutes ago, plant biologist said:

From what I've heard, non-compete clauses are almost impossible to enforce. If you want the other job I say go for and keep quiet about where you are going when you leave. 

Really why is that?

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There was a non compete clause in my contract for my first job out of PA school. I spoke with a family member who is a lawyer before signing it. He said that generally those are meant to protect trade secrets and prevent you from siphoning patients from their practice when you leave. I was advised not to worry about it. However, I practice in Texas and things may be different in other states. 

Edited by plant biologist
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1 hour ago, Wish1pa said:

Really why is that?

Most states consider it restriction of trade...more so in right to work states. In the past few years courts have takes a little broader view and often will look at the terms to see if they are unreasonable before deciding if they are valid. States can vary wildly so a local attorney should give an opinion if in doubt.

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In my state (MASS)  Physicians are explicitly EXCLUDED from non-compete clauses - for the benefit of the community.

 

I would NEVER sign one

 

And if I ever found myself in the position of defending I would quickly hire a lawyer and argue that as a DEPENDENT provider I am an extension of the doc and poof - all done...

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39 minutes ago, CJAdmission said:

If you ever want out of a job, it is easy to become a pleasant - but very slow moving - employee. They will soon agree that parting will be mutually beneficial.

How would that help with a non-compete clause violation? Do NCCs become void if you get fired?

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Not a PA yet, but I do know from unrelated interests that the ability for employers to get a court to actually enforce non-compete clauses varies by state. I think best advice would be to consult an attorney in your area. 

Edited by lemurcatta
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  • 2 years later...

In response to above on getting fired - all the research I have done says that a non-compete is still applicable - it doesn't matter how the job terminated, it is still in effect if the company wishes to try and enforce it - then it is up to the courts.  Reasonable distance and time seem to be the next most determining factors. 6 months to a year are deemed reasonable by many courts - longer then a year not as much. I narrow range, like 1 mile from a practice vs a whole state or county. 

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I think the argument would be they fired you for cause....why would they care if you work for a competing employer? The better argument is if they let you go for their convenience (layoffs due to COVID for instance) then it is unreasonable to refuse to elect to deny you your promised employment and then say you can't work for someone elese.

Again that is a lay opinion and a few bucks for a lawyer can save you a lot of grief.

I have left a position after 2 years of a 3 years contract and opened my own clinic just a hair too close than the non-compete allowed but I never heard a word about it.

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15 hours ago, sas5814 said:

I have left a position after 2 years of a 3 years contract and opened my own clinic just a hair too close than the non-compete allowed but I never heard a word about it.

This is the real point...the VAST majority of non-competes are purely scare tactics.  Of course there are exceptions, but most employers aren't going to spend the time checking up on you or the money on legal fees. 

 

In a similar vein, my first job had a sign-on bonus that I had to repay if I was no longer their employee within 1 year - didn't matter whether they terminated me or I left.  The employer was AWFUL, and the surgeon I was teamed with was even worse.  The result was that 5 months in I was looking for a new job and they fired me when they found out.  The HR lady contacted me once about returning the sign-on bonus and I simply told her I didn't have the money (which was true, it had gone straight to loan repayment and I wasn't about to hand over my emergency fund).  She called and left me a voicemail 1 week later and I called her back and left her a voicemail.  She never followed up again and now according to that state it is beyond the "statute of limitations" supposedly.  Either way, many years later now I've never heard from her or the employer again.  Maybe she decided to be nice...but I suspect it just wasn't worth her time to follow up about the money and suspected it would take legal authority to pull that money from me - which probably would have been true.

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^^^. Your lucky.   I had to pay back a relocation bonus on my 2nd job which was TERRIBLE.  I lasted 3 months.  In that time my check was late 50% of the time, my sup doc OD'ed on Vicodin and the other doc in this small town decided to go on a one man crusade against PA's.  Simply horrible.  They gutted my last 2 checks taking it back.

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1 hour ago, Cideous said:

They gutted my last 2 checks taking it back.

I was initially concerned about that, but learned that in the state I worked it is illegal to withhold paychecks to cover things like that...and that is true in many states.

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56 minutes ago, mgriffiths said:

I was initially concerned about that, but learned that in the state I worked it is illegal to withhold paychecks to cover things like that...and that is true in many states.

Not if it is specifically written into your contract that they will do it and you sign...

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7 hours ago, Cideous said:

Not if it is specifically written into your contract that they will do it and you sign...

In the state I was in that specifically is (or at least was at the time) against the law, and is specifically prohibited by many states.  It is similar to states where non-competes are unenforceable.  Signing one does not overrule that law.

3 hours ago, sas5814 said:

I would add there is nothing to stop them from taking it from you last check(s) and forcing you to go through a lot of work to get it back.

While it would be annoying and delay the income, it would also be a simple report to the labor board.

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39 minutes ago, mgriffiths said:

While it would be annoying and delay the income, it would also be a simple report to the labor board.

Indeed, I understand that in Washington State, about the only thing L&I actually acts quickly to resolve is allegations of withheld pay.

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