employment documents

Posted: August 22, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

One of my clients is fairly new to the job world.  He’s transitioning from a small, family-run business to a career in sales.  He recently accepted a job offer and signed a document call “Terms of Employment.”  No big deal, he thought.  Then he got an offer from another company, a better offer.

He asked me what he should do.  I asked if he signed a non-compete agreement, which confused him.  He had never heard of such a thing.  I looked at the terms of employment, which did contain a rather restrictive non-compete agreement.  I’m connecting my client with a lawyer who thinks the agreement is not valid.  However, the bigger problem is that is exists at all.

Courts are giving more authority to companies to lock workers into non-compete agreements.  Before you sign any kind of job document, read it carefully.  If you don’t understand the document, take it to a lawyer.  Once upon a time, non-competes were meant for elite employees who were very well compensated.  Now they are one more tool that a boss can use to beat down a worker.

If my client’s non-compete holds, he would be very limited in where he could work for 18 months.  He isn’t an elite skill employee, just a sales guy.  There is no reason to lock this kind of employee into a non-compete.  The problem is that he signed the document.  Take a lesson and beware of any kind of contract or agreement that will limit your ability to get a new job.