Legal Question in Business Law in Maryland

contract violation

I worked for a spa for 2.5 years and

was told that I had to sign a contract

after being there for 2 years. I was

told that if I didn't sign the contract I

would not see new clients. In this

industry that is my livelyhood. I

signed the contract which stated

that I could not leave to work at

another spa within 5 miles and if I

did leave I could not defeer from the


I decided to leave after I was charged

an amount of money per service that

I did without knowledge of the

charge and also my sister who

worked there with me was falsely

accused and fired for stealing. I

attempted to stay but because of

constant gossip and the massive loss

of money from my check.

I did contact clients to let them know

that I was leaving and how to

contact me but I did not insist that

they follow me to my new work.

I recently recieved a letter from my

former employer that stated that he

may take legal action for my leaving

and contacting clients.

There are times in the contract that

he has violated terms. I also did

contact clients which can be

manipulated into a violation.

Any suggestions on how to handle

the situation and what I can do if it

does go to court?

Asked on 8/29/07, 7:16 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry Harris Law Offices of Terry J. Harris

Re: contract violation

In general, "non-compete" agreements may be enforceable (as your former employer seems to be threatening) but the terms of the agreement cannot be unrreasonably restrictive.

It is hard to give any helpful advice without seeing the agreement that you signed and reviewing the terms and conditions of the contract. It would also be important to understand all the exact facts and circumstances relating to your leaving and your contacts with clients, so you may want to consult an attorney in your area.

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Answered on 8/29/07, 7:37 pm

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: contract violation

Non-compete agreements such as the one you signed are valid and enforceable contracts, subject to a rule of reason. There are two aspects--the geographic area covered by the non-compete provision, and the length of time after severance of the employment relationship in which you are prevented from working in the industry. The wider the area, and the longer the time, the more likely that a court would rule the clause as being unduly restrictive on your right to pursue your profession, and decline to enforce it.

As for your right to contact clients, it would have been better to do this after you left the company, but it's probably harmless, as long as you didn't cast aspersions on the company or make other inappropriate statements.

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Answered on 8/30/07, 9:55 am

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