Can my employer stop me from starting my own business?

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In general, your employer cannot stop you from starting your own business in North Carolina unless you have signed a valid non-compete agreement or other restrictive covenant that prohibits you from doing so.

Non-compete agreements are legal contracts between an employer and an employee that restrict the employee’s ability to work for a competitor or start a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving their current employment. In North Carolina, non-compete agreements are generally enforceable as long as they are reasonable in terms of time, geographic scope, and the nature of the employer’s business.

If you have signed a non-compete agreement, it’s important to review the terms of the agreement carefully to determine if it prohibits you from starting your own business in North Carolina. It’s also important to note that even if you have not signed a non-compete agreement, you may still be subject to other legal obligations, such as confidentiality or non-solicitation agreements, that may restrict your ability to start your own business or compete with your employer.

If you are considering starting your own business in North Carolina, it’s a good idea to consult with a qualified attorney who can advise you on your legal rights and obligations and help you develop a plan for starting your business without violating any legal or ethical boundaries.

Will Blackton is a business lawyer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can reach Will at or (919) 636-5979.

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