My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Georgia
I'm currently working as an independently contracted tutor for two separate tutoring companies (X1 and X2 for short), which don't have non-compete agreements. X1 and X2 have at-will agreements and I am free to choose my hours with them and leave at any time. I can also work for other tutoring companies while with X1 and X2, I just can't use their clients one year after I leave.
However, a third tutoring company (let's call them X3) contacted me and began training me while I settled employment contracts with X1 and X2. At the X3 interview, they did mention they wanted me to sign a non-compete clause. They said they'd let me finish up the hours with my X1/2 clients but after that, I'd only be working for X3. I decided to wait until X3 gave me a contract before saying anything to X1 and X2 and losing clients. X3 didn't give me a contract until today - about a week into training and 2.5 weeks after interviewing me. I've already signed X1 and X2's contracts.
X3's contract has a non-compete clause partially stated below:
"Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation, Hiring. The Employee agrees that during the terms of his/her employment, and for a period of two (2) years thereafter (irrespective of the reason for termination), he/she shall not, directly or indirectly, either as an owner, officer, director, employee, sole proprietor, partner, member, contractor, consultant or otherwise:
(a) perform Tutorial Services in the Geographic Area (note: this area is previously defined as "all of that area located within a 10 mile radius from every office maintained by the Company in the State") unless such Services are rendered at the direction of the Company and for the sole benefit of the Company
(b) perform Tutorial Services for any person who resides in the Geographic Area, unless such Services are rendered at the direction of the Company and for the sole benefit of the Company;
(c) use any testimonial given to him/her by a Client for whom Employee performed services during the course of his/her employment with the Company;
+conditions about confidentiality and about not stealing clients or employees
While filling out the paperwork, X3 also told me I'd be receiving W-2 forms instead of 1099's. However, I choose and log all of my own hours, and I receive no benefits from X3.
I haven't signed X3's contract yet because I'm not sure what to do.
My questions are:
1. If I signed X3's contract, would the non-compete be enforceable? My friends claim that the non-compete doesn't apply because I'm not an employee of the company, but they're not lawyers.
2. Am I an employee or independent contractor? I contacted an X3 admin and they said I was an independent contractor, but it never states that in the contract. It does state that hiring is "at will." Can independent contractors get W-2 forms?
3. Would you advise signing X3's contract or just dropping them and going with X1 and X2? All three companies pay about the same rate. (Sorry, I know that's not strictly legal.)
4. I've already started training with X3 so I know some of the company's methods and internal phone numbers, access codes, etc. If I left them would I be breaking the law? I would willingly give back any materials they gave me.
5. X3 sells test prep materials on Amazon. They also provide the same test prep materials to the trainee tutors (like me) and to all of their clients/students. If I bought these materials on my own and decided to use them to teach my non-X3 students, would I again be breaking the law?
I'd appreciate any help you can give me. X3 wants the paperwork as soon as possible, but I don't want to give them any information, especially not a contract, before I figure this out.