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I have been working with a startup for some time. Now I have an offer from a competing company which I'm inclined to accept. I've had a chat with the founder of my current startup, and he is saying I won't be able to join the company as I had signed a non-compete, and if I do, legal action will be taken against me. According to this non-compete, I won't be able to be employed with or be engaged in any business that is directly competing with the business of the company for a period of 24 months (Is this time period reasonable?).

The period of 24 months is not reasonable but you have already signed the employment agreement so you cannot do anything, now you have to abide the terms and conditions of agreement.
Yes, it’s the phrase use generally, as “N” number of companies can be competing and employer cannot specify all of them, so treat it as any compa...

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