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Old 10-07-2015, 09:42 AM   #41
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more motivation to retire early
if I had one that said I couldn't work for a competitor I would have to retire early, or take two years off
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:56 AM   #42
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Last week she received an email from her former boss (CEO/owner) asking if she had accepted employment with a competitor reminding her that she had signed an Employee Confidentiality and Non-Compete Agreement in 2006. She chose not to respond to the email as she did not want to have any contact with him or the company going forward.
Today she received an email from the company's attorney with a letter attached asking her to review and respond. They are accusing her of:
Dog, non-compete agreements are valid. If your DD signed one, and it is legitimate, she needs to comply with the terms. That said, non-compete agreements do not mean someone cannot work, and what constitutes "compete" requires careful consideration. An employment attorney can help a great deal in situation like this.

It would be interesting to see if her former employer can produce the original signed agreement. Many companies don't have files in that good order.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:56 AM   #43
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I would say yes. And as others advised, inform the current employer.

And have her atty. include a demand for the former employer to pay her legal cost, at a minimum. I would pursue all claims for unpaid wages, etc. Real rat bastards run some companies, and they need a dose of their own crap.

Goes to show, good deeds sometimes backfire( working hard for a bad employer )

What a bitter pill.

Me, I would have a nice phone call to the former CEO, questioning the " pedigree " of his mother , among other things, but I sure don't recommend that to others.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:06 AM   #44
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1. No serious lawyer communicates with an email.. A touch of harassment is all it is. Under no circumstances respond in anyway.
2. Talk to a lawyer ...you'll sleep better.
3. I believe non competes are difficult to enforce..
4. Inform the boss


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+ 1 All good advise IMO
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:58 AM   #45
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Thanks all. She sent off documentation to an attorney this morning. We will see what happens next.
DD has cut all ties with the former company and has not contacted any of their clients/customers. No reason to. She hasn't "bad mouthed" her former employer. She just wants to put them behind her and move on with her life.
She now works for a company that designs:manufacturers circuit boards. The prior company is a third party vendor (sold parts, tools, solder, etc.) to manufacturing companies. They wouldn't have the same customers.
I believe it is possible they may have lost some clients when DD left as several confided in her that she was the only reason they continued to do biz with former employer (she jumped through hoops for customers and personally delivered product at times if they were in a bind). Last year one client pulled her into a meeting with their execs and offered her a job. She declined because she knew it would be a conflict. So it's possible her departure has cost them some clients. But that is not intentional on her part.
I can't tell you the number of times DD called me in tears due to the disrespect she experienced at her former company. She believed that by working hard and being loyal she would be respected and treated fairly (my fault...DH and I raised her that way). Unfortunately they took advantage of her and dangled carrots. My instinct is to have her attorney threaten them with harassment and emotional abuse, but DD just wants it over.
BTW, her new company has provided her with positive feedback, clear direction and training and is treating her well. She is "over the moon" working with people that respect her and behave professionally.

I will let you know how this turns out.


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Old 10-07-2015, 11:07 AM   #46
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if ours said we couldn't work for a competitor I wouldn't sign it - no one else would either
This is easier said than done. I know many people who feel this way, and without exception every single one DID sign, often consoling themselves with the belief that it wouldn't be enforceable. I have no knowledge of anyone who did not sign, and I personally know hundreds of people who did sign. In my acquaintance at megacorp, I know there are thousands who signed these. I have never heard even stories of a new hire who refused to sign.
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:20 AM   #47
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This is easier said than done. I know many people who feel this way, and without exception every single one DID sign, often consoling themselves with the belief that it wouldn't be enforceable. I have no knowledge of anyone who did not sign, and I personally know hundreds of people who did sign. In my acquaintance at megacorp, I know there are thousands who signed these. I have never heard even stories of a new hire who refused to sign.
in "niche" consulting, we have no other alternative than to get a job with a competitor or hang a shingle - it is a very incestuous business

our noncompetes prevent people from stealing clients or employees, not making a living
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:57 AM   #48
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When my company wanted me to sign a non-compete (and this was after I'd been working there a few years in the same job), I got creative

They made the mistake of sending the document out as an MS Word document, so I simply changed a few words, printed it out and signed it, and kept an original signed copy. It's amazing how inserting 'not' or switching 'days' for 'months' will help your cause. I made sure the word wrap didn't change, so when I handed it to HR, they just stuck it in my file.

So if they had sent me something like what they sent the OP, I would send them a registered letter asking for a copy of the agreement I signed. When I got that, I'd say "But I did wait 18 days, as specified in the document!" It never came to that since they moved their operation offshore and sent me packing.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:18 PM   #49
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They made the mistake of sending the document out as an MS Word document, so I simply changed a few words, printed it out and signed it, and kept an original signed copy. It's amazing how inserting 'not' or switching 'days' for 'months' will help your cause.
smooth move! love it....
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:15 PM   #50
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To consult an attorney is the right choice. When she was hired by the "old company" she was promised certain benefits (including health care what they canceled) as well as they had to give her the job description (what they most likely did not follow by requesting her performing of various other employees duties). An attorney should exploit it.
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:21 PM   #51
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if ours said we couldn't work for a competitor I wouldn't sign it - no one else would either

With the companies I worked for, if you did not sign you were let go... so, it is your choice not to sign... their choice not to employ you....

As for the one that I dealt with when I was a trustee, that was negotiated when the person was selling their company... so it was part of the purchase price....
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:25 PM   #52
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With the companies I worked for, if you did not sign you were let go... so, it is your choice not to sign... their choice not to employ you....

As for the one that I dealt with when I was a trustee, that was negotiated when the person was selling their company... so it was part of the purchase price....
none of "us" can get jobs (including self-employment) outside the industry (unless we go to work for a client but that's very rare for a seasoned professional) so it would be financial suicide to sign one that prohibits employment with a competitor

we are similar to lawyers in that regard except that atty-client privilege allows attorneys to take their clients with them

we are in pretty high demand so refusing to sign isn't that big of a deal - however, no one in our business has noncompetes that prohibit employment with competitors
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:59 PM   #53
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Dog, non-compete agreements are valid. If your DD signed one, and it is legitimate, she needs to comply with the terms. That said, non-compete agreements do not mean someone cannot work, and what constitutes "compete" requires careful consideration. An employment attorney can help a great deal in situation like this.

It would be interesting to see if her former employer can produce the original signed agreement. Many companies don't have files in that good order.
One wrinkle to consider (that I don't think was mentioned) is any agreement she signed at the new employer. Smart employers have new employees sign an agreement that includes language to the effect that they are not under a relevant non-compete.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:10 PM   #54
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One wrinkle to consider (that I don't think was mentioned) is any agreement she signed at the new employer. Smart employers have new employees sign an agreement that includes language to the effect that they are not under a relevant non-compete.
how would that invalidate an existing noncompete?
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:15 PM   #55
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how would that invalidate an existing noncompete?
It wouldn't. I was pointing it out as a potential additional risk to OP's DD. If former employer are indeed jerks and serious about lawsuits, they may very well file against OP's DD and her new employer (who has deeper pockets?). If she promised new employer in writing that she didn't have any non-competes that would prevent her from working for them and it turns out she in fact did/does, that would not be good for her.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:19 PM   #56
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none of "us" can get jobs (including self-employment) outside the industry (unless we go to work for a client but that's very rare for a seasoned professional) so it would be financial suicide to sign one that prohibits employment with a competitor

we are similar to lawyers in that regard except that atty-client privilege allows attorneys to take their clients with them

we are in pretty high demand so refusing to sign isn't that big of a deal - however, no one in our business has noncompetes that prohibit employment with competitors
I guess I should say it was for 12 or 24 months...
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:36 PM   #57
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I knew a guy who worked a co-op job in college that had him sign one of these agreements. It held up starting his first job after college. Usually one of the questions involves do you have anything the could limit your ability to perform your work... or sometimes straight out asking for these agreements.

His first job after school would not let him start until this agreement from the co-op was sorted. They got the co-op employer to release him from the obligations. But these were two good companies.

On not signing, the companies I worked at... you were just out the door. We even had to sign new ones when we got bought out several times.

The unfortunate thing is that they don't show these until you're being processed into the company
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:52 PM   #58
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I've been through this a couple times in technology and started with the position "sure I'll sign a balanced non-compete agreement where the term is precisely this same as my severance payment". That usually got things back into balance for the RIF part. As for leaving for a competitor, you have to just get it as narrow as possible... i.e. manufacturer of circuit boards in the medical industry, not manufacturer of any sort of widgets.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:05 PM   #59
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I'm in California, and once had an employer insist that I sign their non-compete agreement. Heh.

I signed: my-name "per California Business and Professions Code 16600"

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16600. Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:23 PM   #60
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1. No serious lawyer communicates with an email.. A touch of harassment is all it is. Under no circumstances respond in anyway.
2. Talk to a lawyer ...you'll sleep better.
3. I believe non competes are difficult to enforce..
4. Inform the boss


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+2. All good advice. I had a non-compete clause, and my lawyer also told me that non competes are difficult to enforce. That said, I would get a lawyer involved and get the new company boss involved. If DD is using the past company client list to secure clients for the new company, then the new company is involved already.


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