In the case of Century 21 Access America v. McGregor-Mclean, a court ruled to enforce a non-compete clause against a former Century 21 real estate agent.
Ms. Tori McGregor-Mclean was employed by Century 21 Access America from July 2003 to June 16, 2004. During her time with the company, Ms. McGregor-Mclean worked as a real estate agent at the Bridgeport, CT office.
Her employment contract, signed and dated on July 7, 2003, contained a non-compete clause that prohibited her from engaging in competing business activities within a fifteen-mile radius of 3850 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT, for a two-year period after her termination from the company. Ms. McGregor-Mclean voluntarily ended her employment with Century 21 on June 16, 2004 and began to work for Buyer’s Capitol Real Estate. The new company she worked for was located outside of the fifteen-mile radius in Stamford, CT.
Century 21 did not have issues with her new employment because the office location was outside of the prohibited area. However, issues came up when Ms. McGregor-Mclean began accepting real estate listings inside the fifteen-mile radius. Century 21 sued Ms. McGregor-Mclean in Connecticut state court for violating the non-compete clause and requested that the court issue an injunction to enforce the agreement.
The court found that Ms. McGregor-Mclean’s activities with her new real estate agency were in fact violations of the non-compete agreement and it ordered that the provisions of the contract be enforced. The plain language of the non-compete clause stipulated that Ms. McGregor-Mclean was prohibited from carrying out any direct or indirect competing business activities within the defined fifteen-mile radius.
The court ruled she was in breach of the agreement because she accepted five listings within the prohibited area. Although her new office was located outside of the fifteen-mile radius, according to the law, it was an inconsequential matter.
Under the non-compete agreement, Ms. McGregor-Mclean was prohibited from having a physical business presence and transacting individual deals within the defined area. The court identified the unlawful breaches of the non-compete clause and concluded that the agreement was valid and reasonable. The court then issued an injunction to enjoin Ms. McGregor-Mclean from further violations of the covenant not to compete.
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