Here's my situation: I've worked at the same place for over three years. I was working overnights part-time until I was promoted to a full-time position two months ago, doing something different than what I had been doing as a part-timer. I signed a non-compete contract but now I am having regrets as this job hasn't been a good fit at all. I dread going in everyday and I get my work torn apart all the time. I can take constructive criticism but what's happening is beyond that. I bite my tongue because I'm "new" but it's just an unhealthy situation.

Anyway, I had been looking to get into a new line of work for over a year while I was a part-timer but when the full-time opportunity came up, I took it mainly because it was better hours and more money.

Now I'm back to the job search again and I have two interviews set up this week. I'm hopeful that one of these comes through because it would be better for my personal and professional life, but I'm somewhat worried about breaking my contract.

The non-compete clause is specific to the industry and neither of the two jobs I'm interviewing for would qualify. I've also heard of only one instance at my current employer where management thought about suing someone under contract because they were being difficult about wanting to get out of it.

But like I said, it is worrisome when that's being held over you. I also don't want to go to my boss and say something to the degree of "I'm not liking my job" or "This isn't a good fit" for fear of a downward spiral within the company or getting fired right then and there.

How should I go about this in the event I'm offered a new position?

  • note that legal advice is explicitly off-topic per help center
    – gnat
    Oct 13, 2014 at 9:05

2 Answers 2


Your contract most likely has something to say about for how long you're obligated to stay after you've resigned. You stay for that long (if they want you to) and they won't be able to sue you for anything (unless there's something extraordinary weird about your contract, then it's probably illegal anyway).

You're not obligated to tell them why you quit, you can simply leave it with something like

The position didn't meet my expectations, so I'm forced to resign.

You don't even have to mention that you have another job coming up, that's non of their business.

Don't over-think this. You're doing the right thing by leaving (since you're obviously unhappy), and leaving does not give them the right to sue you as long as you full-fill the required time.

If they threaten to sue you then you can simply reply with a

Great! See you in court.

Just remember to keep all written evidence of threats.

Note that there are multiple questions here on workplace that are in one way or another related to your problem, I encourage you to search for them to give you a better understanding.

  1. Your employment contract should explicitly include the protocol under which you are to give notice, if you want to give notice. Stick to the protocol and your giving notice should be smooth. Whether your employer will like that you are giving notice is a different story. If you are on the right side of the terms for giving notice, focus on your own satisfaction not your employer's.

  2. Review the terms of the NDA. If you are not at risk of violation of these terms, go full speed ahead. Your employer may be super aggressive in their interpretation of the NDA and go after you in a court of law, but if this super aggressiveness has no factual basis, then your legal counsel can ask the judge for a summary judgement to the effect that your former employer has no case against you i.e. your employer's lawsuit has no merit. Also, the laws of several states including CA explicitly state that these NDAs may not interfere with someone's right to make a living. I am linking you to a short discussion on slashdot that might be of interest to you. Be cognizant that in this country, our good old USA, anyone can sue anyone over anything - This means that we all live our personal and professional lives under the threat of some lawsuit whether or not that lawsuit has merit.

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