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St. Louis Missouri Labor & Employment Law Firm | What If I Compete Despite A Valid Non-Compete Agreement?
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MISSOURI LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW
What If I Try To Compete Despite A Valid Non-Compete Agree,emt?

What Happens If I Try To Compete Despite A Valid Non-Compete Agreement?

Your former employer has several options, and none of them will make your life as an employee any easier:

Legal Letters to You and Your Current Employer

The first step your employer would likely take is to hire an attorney to write a legal letter to you or your new employer reminding you of the non-compete agreement. Whether the agreement is ultimately enforceable or not, most of these letters will cite the language of the agreement and other statutes or case law in order to scare you into complying. At this stage, your former employer is hoping to stop your new employment activity without having to resort to more expensive measures

File Suit For A Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction, And Permanent Injunction

If your former employer does not get the response to the legal letter that it wants, the next step would likely be to file a petition in state court. Typically, they will allege that you have signed a valid non-compete agreement and that your current activity is damaging the former employer’s ability to operate its business.

Particularly, the employer will argue for three different forms or relief:

  • Temporary Restraining Order – A temporary restraining is typically the first type of relief a former employer will seek. These special restraining orders are intended to prohibit possible competitive activity while both parties prepare for a full hearing on the merits of the case. This relief is very limited in both scope and duration, but it can prevent you from working if it is granted. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney represent you at this early, critical stage.
  • Preliminary and Permanent Injunctions - Preliminary and permanent injunctions are forms of equitable relief which are the court’s way of saying, “You must not engage in certain activity.” In the context of non-compete litigation, a court might grant narrow injunctive relief, or it might grant long-lasting and wide reaching relief, all depending on the facts of the particular case. It is important to obtain legal representation in order to advocate for the narrowest form of injunctive relief so that your future employment options are not unnecessarily restricted.

File A Claim For Breach Of Contract

A claim for breach of contract usually accompanies an employer’s claims for relief mentioned above. A former employer will argue that your activity has caused it to lose clients, lose revenue, lose technology, and many other types of monetary losses. Relief here might be governed in part by terms within the contract itself or the court may look at an employer’s profits, number of client accounts, and other measures to determine the damages. Breach of contact claims, unlike the temporary restraining order and other injunctive relief, can result in you having to pay a sum of money.

File A Claim For Tortious Interference

A claim for tortious interference is sometimes included as a catch-all claim. An employer will argue that you knew of particular relationships between it and suppliers, vendors, clients, customers, and other employees, and that you intentionally acted to wrongfully interfere with those relationships.

Our Offices Will Fight For The Most Favorable Outcome In Your Specific Situation

Every client is different, and every case is different. The outcome in a particular case can hinge on the quality and experience of the representation you have on your side. Contact our Law Offices for a comprehensive review of your case at whatever stage in the proceedings you may find yourself. Please call (314) 645-4100, fill out our contact form, or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it