Is the initial non-compete clause still valid if I was rehired by a company?
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.Depending on the position you held in 2002, the likelihood is that if you had to go to court to litigate the non-compete, it would not be upheld.
First, courts are loathe to enforce non-compete clauses because doing so may prevent people from obtaining gainful employment. In addition, to be enforceable, courts want to see narrowly tailored clauses (not "you can't work anywhere in this industry"), particularly if you did not hold a highly sensitive position at the company that granted you access to vital company confidential information.
Part of the "narrow tailoring" means taking a careful look at the time frame of the non-compete. The longer the time frame, the greater the justification the company will need to enforce it.
To get a clear read on your situation, consult with an employment attorney to review the actual language of the severance agreement.