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Can your employer stop you from leaving for a competitor?

There may come a point when you're ready to leave your current job for a new opportunity. While it's a big decision, once you're sure it's the right one, you begin to move forward full steam ahead.

But then you hit a snag: Your current employer threatens you because you're leaving for a competitor.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are the steps you should take:

  • Review your contract: It's here that you'll find language on working for a competing business, if it exists. For example, your contract may (or may not) have a noncompete component associated with it.
  • Understand the restriction: If there's a restriction in place, review it to better understand your legal rights. For example, it may say that you can't work for a competing company during the immediate three months after leaving your current position.
  • Don't back down: If you don't have a written contract that specifically addresses this, don't back down from your current employer. A noncompete restriction must be thorough and specific, so without this in writing you should be able to move on.

You don't want to leave your employer on bad terms, so there's nothing wrong with explaining your position, negotiating and even compromising if at all possible.

However, if your employer continues to play hard ball, review your contract and noncompete agreement to better understand your legal rights. This will give you a clear idea of what to do next, including the steps you can take to find a solution that allows you to move into your new career as planned.

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Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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