Worked for an employer for almost 4 years as manager. Employer required me to work on projects outside of work hours without compensation, would force me to fraudulently alter documents before State audits to show that they were compliant with State regulations, and would approach me during the work day in front of the staff and scream at me at the top of her lungs. I would receive phone calls at all hours of the night with my employer set about something new and she needed someone to scream at. I had at least one meltdown at work a week where I had to isolate myself and just cry after being screamed at or belittled by my employer. My stress from the work day built up to the point where I was having regular severe acid reflux which was causing me to miss work and my anxiety grew to the point where I could not sleep and I would literally tremble when thinking about going to work. I loved the industry I was working in which is why I stayed for as long as I did. Eventually it got to the point where my physical well being was more important than working for that company. I was approached with an offer for a change in my position at the same company and jumped at it. The harassment by my employer did not stop even after I changed positions so I chose to look for other work in the same industry because I was still having severe anxiety, acid reflux, and began having nightmares. I found another job in the same industry and wanted to just let my former employer be and not bother with them anymore. A few days ago I received a letter in the mail at my new place of work from my former employer's lawyer stating that they found out where I am now working and that I am in breach of their no compete agreement and that they believe I stole their client lists and have been calling and stealing their clients, which I haven't. Now all the stress and anxiety is coming back, I can't sleep and I feel fearful and tremble of the thoughts of past harassment that I had gone through. While I worked with my former employer, I witnessed her sue at least 4 of her previous employees and the thought of her coming after me too is making my stress and anxiety spiral out of control causing me to suddenly start crying at the thought of it. I need to find out what I should do in this situation because I just want to be left alone.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Hi. I am sorry to hear about the difficult position you are in, and all the stress and anxiety that have resulted. I am an Illinois employment attorney that handles employer-employee matters.
There are several issues involved here and you may have claims for compensation from your former employer. A few additional details would be needed to accurately assess your options and provide you with the best course of action.
As a general rule, many non-compete argreements are not enforceable. The agreement must be carefully crafted and limited in scope and duration, or else the court will find it to be non-enforceable. In order to determine if the agreement is not enforceable, I would need to review a copy of the agreement. For your convenience, I can be reached via e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at (314) 471-5585. Thanks.
Note: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.