Ask A Colleague For A Copy Of Your Non-Compete Agreement If You Lose Yours

Ask A Colleague For A Copy Of Your Non-Compete Agreement If You Lose Yours

Many of us had to sign a non-compete agreement when we started a job. Some of us lost that precious document and aren’t sure of the exact restrictions when we leave. Instead of tipping off human resources about your intention to quit, try asking colleagues hired at the same time for a copy of their agreement.

Photo by Grant Baldwin

Aol Jobs has some tips on what to do when you can’t find your non-compete.:

Ask a coworker for theirs: If you have a coworker you trust who keeps better records than you, you might ask them to share their noncompete agreement. Yours is probably similar, but if you started different years or have different jobs, the two agreements could be quite different. If you’re sure that everyone has the same agreement, this is a possibility that might work for you.

Ideally you’ll keep a copy of your paperwork, but if you can’t find it, this tip works in a pinch. If you work for a larger company, everyone’s agreement is typically the same.

Follow the link for other ways to get a copy of your non-compete agreement without outright asking for it.

How Do I Get a Copy of My Noncompete Without Alarming HR? [Aol Jobs]


  • I’m a little dubious about non-competes being enforceable, especially if you’ve been fired.

    If you leave a company and they stop paying you, essentially terminating your employment thus employment agreement, how do they expect to enforce it unless they keep the agreement going thus paying you?

    • A while back a company I worked for threatened to sue a bunch of staff that jumped ship together.

      At the time we did some checking and found that they couldn’t enforce it on the grounds of confidentiality of business secrets – they were call centre staff – and thus too low level for the company to prove they had knowledge that was proprietary and would give the new employer a competitive edge.

      The other angle we found, that companies are having success with, is the poaching of clients. Of course this one was ruled out too because the staff were mainly call centre staff. And they’re not that influential.

      In the end they laughed it off because the cost to enforce was clearly going to be ridiculous and the company was extremely likely to lose regardless.

  • Not legally enforcable in Aus (and I doubt in USA either). They can threaten, but they can’t do anything at all (unless you actually *are* taking a whole lot of confidential information across with you explicitly of course).

  • Yup – We had salesperson leave with pretty much everything he could fit on an external hdd. (price lists, customer db, cad drawings, etc)… He went to a competitor with all this info… Hell we even found our CAD drawings being used at a local steel fabricator (title block redacted)… We lawyer-ed up… Lawyers said…. too hard basket. Lesson to management – dont give people 2 weeks notice. Pay them 2 weeks and march out the door.

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