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Friday, November 7, 2014

States With Pro-Employee Laws: Advance Notice Of Noncompete Agreement

In most states, like my home state of Florida, employers can present employees with a noncompete agreement and demand it be signed on the spot. In states like Florida where continued employment is allowed as valid consideration for a noncompete agreement, there can be an obnoxious situation where an employee quits a job, and then, only after starting work, is handed an agreement and told to sign or be fired. The agreement might say they can't work in their industry for a year or two after they leave. At that point, the employee has little choice. They sign and are then fired a few months later and the burden is on the  taxpayers to pay out unemployment benefits and other government assistance because the employee can't get a job or even apply for one in their industry.

Fair? No. Legal? Yes, in most states.

There are some states that protect employees by requiring advance notice of a noncompete agreement. You'd think voters would rise up and demand such protection, but after this week's election results I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

Here are some state laws that give protection to their citizens by requiring reasonable advance notice of a noncompete agreement:

Oregon: Oregon's statute § 653.295 says:

(1)A noncompetition agreement entered into between an employer and employee is voidable and may not be enforced by a court of this state unless:
(a)(A) The employer informs the employee in a written employment offer received by the employee at least two weeks before the first day of the employees employment that a noncompetition agreement is required as a condition of employment; or
(B)The noncompetition agreement is entered into upon a subsequent bona fide advancement of the employee by the employer.
 New Hampshire: New Hampshire's statute RSA 275:70 used to say: 
Prior to or concurrent with making an offer of change in job classification or an offer of employment, every employer shall provide a copy of any non-compete or non-piracy agreement that is part of the employment agreement to the employee or potential employee. Any contract that is not in compliance with this section shall be void and unenforceable.
          However, this year New Hampshire's legislature modified the law to say:
Any employer who requires an employee who has not previously been employed by the employer to execute a noncompete agreement as a condition of employment shall provide a copy of such agreement to the potential employee prior to the employee's acceptance of an offer of employment. A noncompete agreement that has not been disclosed to an employee as required by this section shall not be enforceable against the employee, but all other provisions of any employment, confidentiality, nondisclosure, trade secret, intellectual property assignment, or any other type of employment agreement or provision shall remain in full force and effect.

Connecticut's legislature passed a law that would require advance written notice that a noncompete would be required, but it was vetoed. Massachusetts tried to pass a law limiting noncompetes that would include an advance notice provision, but that effort failed. With a new governor of that state coming in soon, it's doubtful any limits will be passed anytime soon.

What's so unreasonable about giving advance notice that an employee is going to have to sign a noncompete agreement if they accept a job? Why don't other states pass laws preventing the "gotcha" that many employees face if they want to keep their jobs? Well, nothing will happen unless you stand up and fight for your rights. Unless voters demand change, most states will continue to allow this kind of employee abuse.

1 comment:

  1. This title is perfect, I'm feeling really discriminated by my boss. I think I'm on the verge of quitting because of how I've been treated. The only thing that is keeping me from doing that is the welfare of my family. I really want to do something about his attitude towards me. http://hfslawyers.com


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.