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Non-Compete Agreements

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RaRay

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
I am in a non-compete contract w/my firm I currently work for as an appraiser in a satellite office. I basically work part time and out of my area with no additional perks due to lack of marketing presence my firm has in my city. My non-compete only expires once I have left the firm, I can then go work as an appraiser in my area after and only after 2 years have passed. The firm has been great to me, however, the owner has been known to sue appraisers that have left. There is no medical, 401K nor bonuses of any kind especially in respects to our 24 hour mandatory turn around for our appraisals - and if late, results in a % cut for us. I am currently in a situation where extra money is really needed. I have been offered a job as an independant contractor doing appraisals right in my city for a local company whose owner expressed to me they are in tremendous need for an appraiser in my area and has an additional 5 orders just last week they cannot even get to. I told them I was in a non-compete and of course they thought that was basically communist. I feel so stuck and yes, my company accepts AMC work for throat cut prices and is opening an AMC! Fortunately, I am in an area that is busy and homes are moving and of course I want to utilize my trade for success. When I have spoken to my boss about lack of work, knowing its out there, and about the decreased fees I basically get told to be thankful for what I have. This is nuts! Is this wrong of me to want to move on and better myself and not be controlled? I don't know what I was thiniking when I signed this thing. I was a trainee and it wasn't easy getting a sponsor, but just plain stupid I guess for signing this thing. :new_smile-l: - Any suggestions?
 

leelansford

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
I'm no lawyer...so you best consult with one.

It is only my suspicion, but I believe that a non-compete agreement that precludes you from working as an appraiser in your geographic area would not be upheld by the court system. But...spend the $$ and talk to a lawyer.
 

Michigan CG

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
In my wife's profession non-compete clauses have never held up in court, and in some states if an employer sues for compliance and loses they have to pay the court costs. A person has a right to earn a living in their profession according to the courts (for cases we know of in her profession).

There have been appraisers on this forum who support the non-compete clause because the mentor gives the education and job skills to the trainee who eventually becomes licensed or certified. In other professions the employee came in with the education and skills. In our profession the employee may have paid for the classroom education, but the mentor provided the formal education, and in there lies the gray area.

You say that your employer has sued others before. They question is, were they successful or did the employee submit to them and give up.

Obviously this a question for an attorney in your state.
 

MBD

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New York
The non-compete clause can't prevent you from working. I suggest you re-reread it to verify that it just prevents you from soliciting their clients.
 

athome77

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
The firm you are working for sounds very similar to an outfit out of Minnesota that has a former AI President as one of their VPs, no? The same company that requires appraisers to allow clerical staff access to their digital signatures and passwords. If that is the case please be aware that they will threaten to enforce a non-compete and have deep pockets for attorneys fees but have been known to back down once challenged as the wording of the non-compete and it enforcement are at best, suspect. Personally know of two appraisers, one in the Cleveland area, who left that company and were not sued.
 

Joyce Potts

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Why did you sign it in the first place?
 

Couch Potato

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I'm no lawyer...so you best consult with one.

It is only my suspicion, but I believe that a non-compete agreement that precludes you from working as an appraiser in your geographic area would not be upheld by the court system. But...spend the $$ and talk to a lawyer.
It would be upheld if it is reasonable. It must have a specific time limit which is not too long as well as be specific in the activities affected. The geographic region of the ban must be reasonably linked to the current employment.

It can be expensive to fight such a contract in court. The financially prudent thing to do for most people would be to work in a different area. Remember in the future the best time to consult an attorney is before you sign the contract. :new_smile-l:
 

RaRay

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
The non-compete clause can't prevent you from working. I suggest you re-reread it to verify that it just prevents you from soliciting their clients.


It clearly states I cannot work in my geographical area until the 2 years has expired. There is one way I can get out... that's to pay 1 years wages to my employer. Obviously, if I am trying to earn extra money, that certainly isn't in my budget.
 

RaRay

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
The firm you are working for sounds very similar to an outfit out of Minnesota that has a former AI President as one of their VPs, no? The same company that requires appraisers to allow clerical staff access to their digital signatures and passwords. If that is the case please be aware that they will threaten to enforce a non-compete and have deep pockets for attorneys fees but have been known to back down once challenged as the wording of the non-compete and it enforcement are at best, suspect. Personally know of two appraisers, one in the Cleveland area, who left that company and were not sued.


Thanks for the repsonse. This firm is based out of Ohio and I do not have access to digital signatures.
 

RaRay

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
In my wife's profession non-compete clauses have never held up in court, and in some states if an employer sues for compliance and loses they have to pay the court costs. A person has a right to earn a living in their profession according to the courts (for cases we know of in her profession).

There have been appraisers on this forum who support the non-compete clause because the mentor gives the education and job skills to the trainee who eventually becomes licensed or certified. In other professions the employee came in with the education and skills. In our profession the employee may have paid for the classroom education, but the mentor provided the formal education, and in there lies the gray area.

You say that your employer has sued others before. They question is, were they successful or did the employee submit to them and give up.

Obviously this a question for an attorney in your state.

Thank you for your response. Yes, others have been sued and had to pay 1 years wages to the employer. That certainley is not in my budget.
 
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