Now that I'm independent I do work for various people. When doing a large project I expect that I get a NDA from the client. No problem. But, a new client sent me a contract which included a non-compete section. It seemed to be worded with a W2 employee in mind. It states that the Programmer (me, the consultant in this case) can't work for any competition of theirs directly or indirectly for 1 year after working for them. Then, a bunch of "you can request permission" stuff, and if you can't get a job because of this provision they pay you 80% of your salary until you can. All wording which seems reasonable for a salaried employee. But, not a consultant. I sent an email back saying I wouldn't sign it unless that section was removed, as I couldn't agree to having my income limited because I do work for them, and since I'm not salaried.. 80% of no salary is $0. I haven't heard back yet (it's Friday, so didn't expect to).
Then I started to wonder how enforcable something like this would be anyways. If you worked for Acme Corp, left (or was asked to leave) the company, then was hired by Widget Corp (Acme Corps bitter enemy).. what could Acme Corp. really do about it? I once worked for a company which hired someone who was a consultant. The consulting company tried to pull some legal stuff on the guy, but didn't seem to be able to enforce it. I figured I could just sign that contract and a) the company would never know who I did work for anyways, or b) couldn't enforce anything. But, I just don't like signing things I don't agree with and don't want to have the possability of any legal hassles.
Does anyone know of any cases where a non-compete was broken and successfully enforced? And, if so.. what was enforced? Did the person have to quit their job? Pay money?