Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 06:05 am
I was recently laid off from my job of 9 years. My boss said he would pay me a weeks pay for every year I was at the company plus any outstanding vacation time. Sounds good so far, but then I read the severance agreement and by me signing it, I would have to forget everything I know and start over with no geographical or time limitations. In the current job market, I think I would be limiting my options and shooting myself in the foot for an additional 2 months of salary. What do you think? I have contacted a lawyer to see if such broad wording is even legal in this state (Fl).
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 1,574 • Replies: 7
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jespah
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 06:16 am
@BobbyGeekBoyGomez,
See what your lawyer says, obviously.
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maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 06:25 am
@BobbyGeekBoyGomez,
Well we don't know what you do of course, but it likely means that you're not supposed to walk to your biggest competitor and give away all your ex-companies trade secrets....that is not unusual for these types of agreements.

If you do indeed have to transfer to a different career, there are skills you've probably learned that will be transferrable.

In this market, I'd take the severance if it were offered; if you don't, there's nothing to stop them from laying you off next week w/o severance.
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dadpad
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 06:32 am
I would have to forget everything I know and start over with no geographical or time limitations.
what does this mean exactly?
How can you possibly forget everything you know? thats just not feasible.

i am not a lawyer and from the sounds of iyt neither are you. have a lawyer look the document over.





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BobbyGeekBoyGomez
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 08:25 am
Let me just add this, my former company has no proprietary intilectual property. They have no patents on method or materials which are commonly known and sold in the open market. "Engineering" was nothing more than making things fit in a given space.
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ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 08:35 am
@BobbyGeekBoyGomez,
Talk to a lawyer (I am not a lawyer... I just play one on the internet).

My understanding is that these non-compete agreements are on legally shaky ground and pretty difficult to enforce unless you do something clearly egregious like using client lists, or offering a direct competitor inside information on your previous employers secret plans. Even if a judge would take them seriously, it will cost your previous company lots of money to come after you-- unless you are an executive or do something that is clearly stealing money this isn't going to happen.

These things are written by overactive lawyers who need to come up with some way to justify their inflated salaries. They are often worded in a way that would be laughed out of a court room by any judge.

If you are a Java programmer (for example) they can't demand you no longer program in Java, can they.

I once signed a non-compete agreement that, if taken literally, said that if I met a woman who had worked for the competition in the past 10 years, I couldn't marry her. I did check this with a lawyer friend of mine who basically laughed at me for even thinking about taking it seriously.

Is there any option? Are you really willing to give up 9 weeks pay for this?

But talk to a lawyer, then sign the thing. There is free legal counsel you can get, it will take a lawyer 30 minutes or less to tell you not to worry.

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joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 09:09 am
@BobbyGeekBoyGomez,
Non-compete clauses are contrary to the freedom of contract, and thus are held to a high degree of scrutiny by the courts. In my experience, courts seldom enforce them, even if they are drafted by the biggest corporations with the smartest lawyers. A non-compete clause not only has to be reasonable in terms of time and location, it must serve to protect a tangible interest that would be severely damaged in the event that the former employee goes into competition with the former employer. As such, non-compete clauses are typically enforceable only against former employees who can take away a lot of business or who know trade secrets. Against the average employee, however, such clauses are usually unenforceable.

For information specific to Florida, check out this site.
BobbyGeekBoyGomez
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 11:44 am
@joefromchicago,
Great information, Thank you. The irony in this whole situation is that my boss started his business by ripping off his former employee. So to me the tone of his agreement shows just how confident he is with his market position.
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