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New employee contract/ND requirements questionable: If I dont sign, I lose my job.

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  • New employee contract/ND requirements questionable: If I dont sign, I lose my job.

    Yes I am getting an attorney. That said, any other experiences would be greatly appreciated. This is becoming like the separation of church and state.

    This is Florida.

    I work for a financial aid servicer that has delved into the software industry. After 5 years employment a revised No Compete contract was given to me that states:
    To continue employment I must agree to:

    No compete in a related field - understood

    The intellectual property produced for the Employer is the property of the employer - understood.

    Litigation and Attorney fees will be passed on to the employee if needed. - pretty standard

    The parts I question as to fair business/employment practise:

    I must also agree that all rights to publish or profit from any intellectual property of my own created by me before, during or up to 2 years after my hire date, that is NOT based on any service the company provides; must be clearly given to the employer.

    In the case of prior to hire date, an addemdum may be attached to define what is considered employee owned prior to the hire date. Any personal interests not conflicting with the employer are to be signed over as the employers property.

    However, there is also a clause that appears to say the addendum is void anyway, which puts me right back to square one. I am looking into this document with an attorney

    --For example, I work for a software firm in the food industry, why would I have to give up the right to author, sell and profit from a childrens book in my spare time? If the only relation that can be construed is the platform to author this childrens book, though owned by the employee, happened to be the same 3rd party, public product the employer uses to create software - Like windows XP for example.

    Can I be penalized with losing my job for using a 3rd party, not employer owned, public consumable for a completely different task?

    --back to the case:

    So far the personal intellectual propery gets signed away. Note: this is property NOT created for, in the same industry as, does not compete with, the current employer.

    I also must waive the right to a jury trial for any litigation with the current employer or decisions in venue.

    Any outside interest of the employee is now considered to be completetly, solely the property of the employer, to include not producing or publishing the employees work, or to produce or publish and not compensate the employee.

    This holds true for any and all Intellectual Property, Patents and Masked Works that; relate in any way or are based upon work performed by me for "the current employer" - or otherwise.

    The extreme nature of the wording to completely encompass the employees life to at least the employees hire date for anything not employer related and without even the compesation of even staying employed is pretty stellar.

    --could you imagine having to sign over your neat little hobby business with antiques on ebay of the last 4 years because your current employer said to keep your job of 5 years - they now own the right to your interest because it was not present 5 years prior to signing this new agreement.

    Any employee signing this agreement also says they will not work for anyone without the current employers written agreement for at least two years after the termination date, in any industry - not just the current employers - that can be construed as "similar" or based on skill obtained or improved upon at the current employer. Seeing how working in a professional environment entails using a PC, this can be a really broad statement.

    All of the above is passed on to your family in an "heirs" clause.

    Lastly, the employer reserves the right to terminate you before the ink is dry on your signature and not gurantee employment past that moment. This means any employee signing this can be immediately removed not only from the employers hire, but the entire professional job market.

    I really like my job, the employer was a good one. Now I have this life changing choice handed to me without even a verbal definition of what the impact this document has on a my life.

    My questions are these:

    Can refusing the right to jury trial be a reason to be terminated? Where is this found?

    Is it an unfair employment practise to expect current employees to agree that the employer may back date "work not for current employers hire, penalties" for being an employee? And if the employee does not agress, terminate them?

    Can an employer require an employee to sign over rights to anything that was a work that is not for hire, not completed with employers trade secret, owned tools or facility. Can the employer extend their reach to include any place you may be, whomever you may be with and for what ever purpose, to preclude the employee from having an idea for sale and profit that is again, not business related.

    And again, the penalty is termination.

    I was given this monday before Thanksgiving with the little speach that a new No Compete Agreement was needed to be read and turned in 2 days later, not that I had to choose between staying employed or possible give up my rights as an American citizen. Fortunately my HR has agreed to give me to Dec 5.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    No one here can interpret the enforceability of an agreement they have not read.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      Generally speaking, we cannot interpret a contract we have not read. I can offer this caveat, however.

      An employer would have ZERO LUCK in my area of the country at getting the revenue from an employee's totally private venture. I can speak such of the civil courts, and the appellate. Accordingly, I would sign it....THAT IS FOR ME AND MY AREA OF THE COUNTRY. Because in my neck of the woods, an agreement like that is not worth the paper it's written on.



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