I'm seeing more and more employers requesting to sign a non-competition clause, restricting you from finding work in your given field in an entire state. Some even go as far as telling you that you can't have any communication with people in the firm even if they are friends.

As a low or entry level position is this even legally possible? I understand that the tech field is weird but surely this is borderline illegal if I want to be able to support myself if I am not happy at a current company.

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  • And please could you say what country this is? In the case of USA, which state?
    – gnasher729
    Jan 27, 2018 at 0:16
  • Assuming it is in Germany: It is perfectly legal, as long as your employer pays you reasonable compensation. "Reasonable compensation" would be for example your loss in income, plus losses in the future because you will have less experience. In other words, VERY expensive.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 27, 2018 at 0:19
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    Contact an attorney if you're concerned. There are many things that can make these contacts unenforceable. Jan 27, 2018 at 14:39

3 Answers 3


It is legal, and up to you to sign it or to simply find another job.

I left (fired) from my previous job after 8 months into the job because of a NCA letter.

I even posted here about it: Is this 3 years NCA reasonable for a 3 month contract?.

It states "can't do any activity with any company/individual that does software products". So I was like "lol you want me to sign this?" for 8 months until I finally got fired.

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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings unless it is stated in the NCA itself. For example section 4 in my attached question (See OP - yellow part), states that both parties agree that section 3 (The NCA) is reasonable, hence enforceable. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    – Sandra K
    Jan 26, 2018 at 22:01
  • I do not believe there are any magical clauses that turn unenforceable contacts into enforceable contacts. "I agree this contract is reasonable and enforceable" is a waste of ink. Jan 27, 2018 at 14:36
  • You have to be able to prove actual damage though. A plaintiff in a suit needs to show that their proprietary interests are damaged by your accepting a position with a company. IE you have a job at a company through manpower, you cant jump over to another service and keep a position at the company you were working for manpower at. Just jumping over to a different service company is not a cause of damage. They have to show that your leaving resulted in actual loss beyond just you not there to do the job. Jan 27, 2018 at 15:00

The employer has a mechanism that prevents competitors from poaching employees, it is called paying a good salary. Your cannot and should not be coerced into sign something that will prevent you from working on your field of choice, much less as a low level employee.

As a low level employee, I would strike down and not accept a non-compete clause from any contract presented to me.

Furthermore, the law already has by default provision on places that will punish me from accepting work from direct competitors while I work for them.


I assume you are talking about direct employers, and not job agencies.

Your employer has the right to protect its core knowledge and to prevent competitors from gathering it by simply hiring (or head hunting) former workers.

Normally this restriction in the freedom of employment is compensated by an adequate salary (even for low level employees).

In case you are instead talking about job agencies, the fee you are supposed to pay for moving to a job they list in the clause can be put in the negotiation for the hiring. In this way your new employer can accept to pay the fee for getting you.

In both cases you are aware of the clause before signing the contract, so it is your decision to accept it or not.

If you think that the terms of the non competition clause are too strict or unlawful then you should search legal advice from a professional and not from random strangers on the internet.

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    Your employer has the right to protect its core knowledge and to prevent that competitors can gather it by simply hiring (or head hunting) former workers. - Citation Required Jan 26, 2018 at 20:40
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings, it is called IP protection. And they cannot erase your brain when you leave the job.
    – L.Dutch
    Jan 26, 2018 at 20:44
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    workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/255/… - I am not challenging the fact, I am challenging your assertion that it is a fact. Please back up your claim with a source Jan 26, 2018 at 20:47

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