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Am I going to get sued?

WR fam, the hiring market is getting SPICY. Let’s talk non-competes.

Recently had an executive recruiter reach out to me about an opp. based on my experience on LinkedIn and great potential fit etc etc etc. The usual spiel.

Anyway, as always the client was kept secret until we spoke, where it came to light that they are a direct competitor to my old organization. So, being (A) a professional and (B) unwilling to get sued I brought it up.

The recruiter was slightly dismayed but agreed to present my profile and we said we can figure out the logistics later.

Anyway, I went back and reviewed the IP Protection and Non-compete documentation that I signed when I started at my old company, only to discover that while the letter was addressed to me at the top (name, phone number, address etc)... the very first clause, concerning the terms of the agreement were actually addressed to someone else. Clearly they use a template, and forgot to change the name.

So, my question: is this non-compete even valid? The way it reads is, I was basically sent a letter concerning the terms and restrictions placed upon someone else. I read the letter, signed and returned it, as requested. But none of this is legally applicable to me, correct?

This is a copy and paste of that first clause:

Dear [MY NAME],

This agreement confirms the terms and conditions associated with sales & account management services (“​The Services​”) to be provided by [THE WRONG NAME] (“The Employee”), to [THE COMPANY NAME] (“​The Employer​”).


The ONLY other concern I have is that at the bottom where I DocuSigned the agreement, my name is listed correctly next to “The Employee” and I’m signing against the bolded legal-language talking about “I agree to uphold the articles of allegiance and may you take my left arm and first-born child if I should breach such legalese as displayed above”

Thoughts dearest salvages?
Should I sign the offer letter?
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🤝 Interviewing/Offer
⚖️ Legal
34
SlinginSoftware
Politicker
+7
Account Executive
From what I've been told (and please understand that I have always been an IC so I'm not one of the employees they really worry about being poached), non-competes are very hard to enforce. That being said, I think a lot depends on how much of a dickhead your old company wants to be and the state in which you live.
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
I feared this too but honestly unless they have some golden parachute clause in your contract that has them paying you hush money it is almost unenforceable. My understanding is there has to be some kind of fair compensation for the non-compete to be valid.

The idea is no judge is going to deny your ability to work in your chosen profession and based on your experience because some company wants to protect their bottom line. I also don't see any company going after you, it would be a giant waste of time and resources they could be focusing on growing their business.

Just don't sell corporate secrets, hire old co-workers or blatantly steal accounts for the duration of the non-compete and you should be good.

Note I'm not a lawyer, I just play one during deals.
jefe
Politicker
+8
Sales Director
Was looking for exactly this..

Almost always unenforceable. I was actually talking about this like 2 weeks ago to the president of our company. When it comes to high level project managers with development expertise there can be some validity for the protection of IP.

But sales? YOU GOOD
ColdCall
Valued Contributor
+5
Business Development Manager
Came here to say this. Normally a way to scare employees to staying/ moving out of industry. But be careful what you sign!
Kinonez
Celebrated Contributor
+9
WR Enthusiast
To be super honest I'm not sure, I would run this by a lawyer to get better imput! Hope things work out!
jefe
Politicker
+8
Sales Director
This is solid advice.
Woody
Politicker
+4
Business Development Executive
I was going to say break into the server room where the agreements are stored and set it on fire.  But this is probably better advice. 
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
This is actually a great idea. Unfortunately they use google cloud storage so I’d have to set fire to all the google servers. And that poses logistical concerns
Show 1 more replies
poweredbycaffeine
WR Officer
+9
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Explain this to the company if you are considered for the role. If they are cool with it, and hire you, then they should be willing to go to bat for you when that letter comes in. I had the same thing happen to me, albeit due to spite by the previous firm's CEO and not actual malice on my part, and my new employer sent them an even stronger letter back that basically read "GFY".
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
My old CEO was a lawyer and loved to do the threatening letter thing even if he knew he had no grounds and/or would never pursue it in court. It works more often than people like to admit, big words scare little companies.
SADNES5
Politicker
+6
Hittin' Dingers
You signed in good faith. 

That being said, non competes interfere with your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness... So not a lot to lean on. 

Take the offer. 
Justatitle
Politicker
+11
Mid Market AE
Depending on the state you live in non competes are almost useless. New York and California you have no issue. Texas there could be a legal fuss but. In all honesty non competes are almost useless
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
Shoulda mentioned I’m Canadian
Justatitle
Politicker
+11
Mid Market AE
Well then, no clue o. How it works up there lol
Show 3 more replies
1nbatopshotfan
Politicker
+6
Senior Director, Enterprise Technology
Generally you’ll be fine, is my experience. You’ll probably get a cease and desist or whatever but it’s normal. 
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
Talk to your potential employer.  They may be able to help you.  

Laws are different depending on where you live / work.  Check with a lawyer if you are concerned.

Anyone who says non-competes are hard to enforce has not been sued by a previous employer.
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
Have you been sued? Know someone who has? How did that play out?
goose
Politicker
+12
Sales Executive
This is always like an urban legend.  Friend of a friend type of stuff.  I've never been sued.  

I have, however, presented my non-compete / non-solicit to a future employer.  Some have hired me; some have passed.  It's always good to begin candidly in my opinion.  Make sure you have bases covered.
BlueJays2591
Politicker
+8
Business Development Manager
Non-competes are difficult to enforce, but I have seen someone sued for it. They were fired on the spot with their new company and had to pay a certain amount to their previous employer. But it was also a very stupid move of going back to their former clients and trying to scalp business. As long as you sell to different clients you should be good. 
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
In that situation they violated a non-compete, non-solicitation and probably a confidentiality agreement. 

Step on 1/3 and you're likely gonna be ok. Hit 3/3 and you're asking for trouble.

CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I believe you’re an IC. You should be fine. This shit only gets enforced way up the chain
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Or if they are being a petty Betty. I've seen it happen. 🤷‍♀️
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
Fair, scale/industry matters. Most of my employers were too big to care and my current industries, it’s pretty standard
softwarebro
Politicker
+4
Sales Director
In my experience most non-competes are worthless. Most salespersons don't have enough deep knowledge about the solution they sell to be held to the definition of "intellectual property". If you are concerned, have the new company's legal team review the non-compete. Even if you are golden you will probably still receive a letter in the mail. I have one of these threatening letters framed on my desk. 
TechSalesQueen
Catalyst
+5
Sr. Enterprise Account Executive
Check non-compete laws in the state the legal document resides - example, if company has HQ in Boston, Massachusetts bans the enforcement of non-competes. Some states protect you. Some don’t. Could say you some money on legal fees to just know the states stance. It would be where the company is, not you.
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
Much appreciated. My potential new VP is out of NYC, knew about the non-compete and interviewed me anyway. . Did well enough to merit a 3rd round with the Canadian VP and that’s on the calendar for end of week, so I think its already water under the bridge.
TechSalesQueen
Catalyst
+5
Sr. Enterprise Account Executive
Your new company won’t be sued. You will be sued. The liability is on you. Don’t be naive.
Show 18 more replies
TechSalesQueen
Catalyst
+5
Sr. Enterprise Account Executive
No one secure with themselves chooses calling someone a lady when I’m simply a person who disagrees with you and my gender and calling me a “lady” is uncalled for and backed by a long history of sexism in our industry. So no. It has nothing to do with my insecurities. I’m confident as hell - enough to call you and and not back down even. The only lady in question is the one who raised such a classless man pig like you who thinks behaving this way in a “casual forum” towards women who clearly actually do know better than you and don’t have to lie about their title to prove it. This has everything to do with you being a lair about your title, asking for advice just to reply to people offering to help you bragging about how you don’t need it and insulting me as a woman in the industry when my gender had zero to do with the topic or discussion, and one again, you trying to gaslight me into thinking somehow I’m the one in the wrong. I’m sorry if you simply can’t see that. But given your confusion on my original response, I’m honestly not surprised. Did you think using grammar this time and making it into paragraphs would make you seem more intelligent as a reflection of me calling out your blatant lies and dismissive remarks less noticeable? Anyone can hit the return button. Only a confident man wouldn’t need to use my gender to prove what I said at the beginning of all of this was valid and that your remarks were inherently stupid and then turned to sexist. Have a nice night. I hope your company does sue you. It’s clear you don’t know the difference between the relevance between something as simple as a companies HQ and where either of your needs VPs lives. How does a VP reporting to 2 VPs work anyway? Don’t bother answering it was simply a rhetorical question. This tech sales queen has had her fill of weak baseless sexist men for the night. Xo, Tech Sales Queen
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
TLDR. Refill the Valium prescription.
TechSalesQueen
Catalyst
+5
Sr. Enterprise Account Executive
I don’t do drugs. But I appreciate your low level personal attacks to try and deflect from your own inadequacies as a person failing once again to make you seem like any more of a emotionally stable person than any of your last responses. You behave like someone who got told no by women one too many times in life and now has self loathing rotting you from the inside out. Given your emotional immaturity it’s unlikely we will ever have the misfortune of working at the same level of sales but should we meet in person I can guarantee you right now you wouldn’t have even a half saggy ball sack of confidence coming into a face to face argument with me and you would never ever win. The irony for someone who chose “The Negotiator” as their name. You can’t even effectively defend yourself. And you want us to believe you can close a deal? 🤣🤣🤣🤣 PLEASE. Enough child. Go watch some sports and tell yourself you’re good enough. You’re done here.
Show 5 more replies
Diablo
Politicker
+7
AE
I am not sure but doesn't look to be abnormal. Did you check with any of the lawyers who might give you the right solution as that their profession?
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
I have not yet contacted the blood-suckers. I decided the WR was the place where I want to get sound legal advice from. Lifestyle choice.
LandandExpand
Opinionated
+3
AE
You gotta let us know how this plays out
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
Will do. The recruiter has been fairly responsive, playing middle man between me and the client. She is optimistic, but they always are.
Do.it.for.the.checks
Politicker
+7
Account Executive
Be clear to the employer, but non-compete is non enforceable in most right to work States.

Non-solicitation is different.
Do.it.for.the.checks
Politicker
+7
Account Executive
I.e. they can't say you can't work for them, but can say you can't take IP or customers
Ma
MacWar
Good Citizen
+2
Account Executive, Commercial
I was recently sued for my non compete, I went from competitor A to B, same industry, shared a majority client list, etc. The non-compete was only valid because apparently I was taking a sizable book of business over and has good relationships. Keep in mind The product drove decision, not my relationship. My lawyer told me it was still hard to enforce, but basically I’d have to stay out of those companies for the term of my non compete to be safe. Both companies and myself agreed and that was that. However, was told unless you’re directly bringing business from one company to another they are hard to enforce and can be considered “grey area.” Also the state matters - New York during covid was not about to let someone go unemployed, so that was a plus for me. The example he provided me was hairdressers, no one goes to the barbershop for the company, it’s the relationship with your hair dresser or barber that brings you back. If that person leaves, it’s likely they take a very high percentage of their book of business with them to the new business. Hairdressers struggle with non competed a lot more than sales people according to him…Another was office supplies, price points tend to be similar and people don’t tend to care where their paper and pens come from - but it’s the relationship with the rep. Mind you, I’m not a lawyer and this is just my experience so don’t take this as legal advice, but hopefully it provides some context into the shitshow of non competes.
LordOfWar
Big Shot
+12
Director
Your office supplies reference made me think of Michael Scott Paper Company.
WomenWantMeFishFearMe
Politicker
+4
SDR LXIX
Non competes may or may not be illegal depending on your state
TheNegotiator
Politicker
+7
VP of Sales
#Canada
WomenWantMeFishFearMe
Politicker
+4
SDR LXIX
I’m unfamiliar. Do you mean America Jr?
Show 1 more replies
salesandstrategy
Opinionated
+1
Senior Account Executive
IANAL, would got to counsel and figure out your best path forward. 
MoonDog69
Executive
+7
Commercial Account Executive
Non-competes rarely hold up in court because they are so difficult to prove violations of the agreement. Many western states don’t even recognize them and will toss any non-compete cases out the window (Colorado for example). My dad was a lawyer for 35 years and when I went through something very similar a few years ago he acted as my council. From my experience you’re safe even if the incorrect non-compete is attached to you. Just don’t steal any business from your current job when you go to the new company.
dwightyouignorantsale
Politicker
+6
Manager, Sales
my company has had a few salespeople move to competitor companies of ours over the years. we all signed non-competes when we started, but they have yet to enforce it. it seems that the only people they really care to enforce that on are dev/engineering people who know the ins and outs of our product and take it elsewhere. BUT that’s just my org. I’d definitely ask a lawyers opinion to be safe!
dcarb
Good Citizen
Account Manager
I agree with some others here that have said non-competes are notoriously hard to enforce. It also depends on what state you live in. If you Google it you will find a list of states and how friendly or not they are to enforcing non-complete agreements. 

My old company would have their attorney send a nastygram to the new company threatening to sue them and often times it would scare the new employer into letting the new hire go.  I’ve also seen companies who would say “ fuck em! Let them sue us if they want to waste their money on legal fees”. The old company has to prove damages in order to sue. They can’t just keep you from working. You just can’t “harm them financially” and they have to prove that you did NOT will or might harm them. It doesn’t work that way.  If you take your biggest client from the old company to the new company then they might have legal grounds to come after you. I wouldn’t worry about it though. If your new employer is good with it then you should be too. Good luck!!
Sh
SheCloser
Fire Starter
+2
Staring down at you from the top of the stack rankings
Get a lawyer to look it over
MediocreSalesGuy
Valued Contributor
+7
AE
It may depend on what state you are in. I'm in Illinois for example, and non-competes are nearly impossible to enforce. I'm no lawyer (but watch a lot of Law and Order), but I would think that their stupid move would make it even more difficult to enforce. Now go make some money!
Ri
Riskitforthebiscuit
Good Citizen
+3
Head of Revenue
Non competes are essentially impossible to enforce unless you are a C level AND going to a DIRECT competitor. Most of the time, sales execs aren’t considered as part of having completely confidential information either. Versus someone who has written the source code, knows how the product works…etc.
ronimal
Opinionated
+4
Commercial Account Executive
According to the r/sales subreddit you can totally ignore non-competes. They’re completely unenforceable. You could always consult a lawyer to confirm, or you can just ask at r/legaladvice.
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MediocreSalesGuy ,   Hoss ,   AlexT   and 50 people voted