Hi, I'm a doctor by profession and was previously employed in a sister company of an HMO, that solely dealt with claims processing. I worked there as an Asst Manager for 2 years. Prior to start of employment, the HR of the HMO made me sign a non-compete agreement, that stated I can't be employed in a competitor HMO for a period of 1 year from resignation. At that time, I did not pay much attention to the waiver, since I had no thoughts about resigning. However, while staying with the company, I came to realize that I was not happy and that there were many issues that did not make sense to me. First of all, I really was not sure who my employer was - the HMO or the sister company..since they only have one owner, one HR department, but they are registered separately in SEC and file BIR separately. And, in time, it even became more confusing, since they said that the sister company is not really a sister company but some form of sub-contractual.. They gave this latter reason when I went asking why we did not have the same benefits as the HMO, like right to join the Union or have Collective Bargaining Agreement. We also did not have a retirement package and had less medical coverage unlike the ones employed in the HMO.
Anyway, after 2 years, I decided to resign and pursue specialization in a govt hospital. But I was only in training for 5 months, since I could not meet my family's expenses, being also the breadwinner. So, I decided to apply at an HMO. This time, I was sure that it was really the HMO that was hiring me. They made a job offer for Asst Manager for Operations Department. I signed the job offer already, and will begin work in 2 weeks time. While securing my clearance from my previous HMO/sister company employer, I was reminded of my non-compete waiver. Now, I'm confused on what decision to make. I am afraid of the consequences. To add, the non-compete agreement did not state any consequence, i.e. "penalty of P_____..." only that I could not be employed by a competitor HMO for a period of 1 year. Also, they did not provide a copy for me. I am afraid for my profession. Also, I don't want to pass up the good opportunity the new employer is offering me. By the way, before I applied to the competitor HMO, I tried to re-apply to the old employer, but they did not have any opening for me. And, lastly, I have not informed my new employer that I have a non-compete waiver with my previous employer. Should I do so? It might harm my application. Thanks in advance for your advice!