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no compete/electronic monitoring Florida

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  • no compete/electronic monitoring Florida

    Thanks for everyone's help on all of this. I've managed to read through most of the posts on here, and it helped me understand a few things a little better. My situation is a little odd, and I'll try to explain it as short but detailed as possible.

    Basically, I was let go from a company I did service work for. I worked there for 6 years, and was actually let go because the owner hired two of his family members to work there. The one nephew was a dispatch guy, around my age, that was a little ****y and didn't like to hear the correct way to do things unless they were his idea. Basically he and I didn't get along, and this led to my getting "let go". The owner said I "just didn't seem to want to be there" anymore, and that was why. Either way, I'm fine with it because it was a hell of a headache to deal with.

    So....apparently I have a "no compete" agreement. I've been researching the hell out of this, and-

    1) I do not have any specialized training
    2) I do not have any trade secrets
    3) I did not have access to any customer information that would affect the goodwill of my previous employer and his customers.

    So, basically I can tell my previous employer doesn't have anything on me, and this would easily be won (I think?) in court. Am I reading this wrong? Basically I'm a mechanic that works on gas stations and such. All the information you would ever need to learn this job is readily available on the internet to ANYONE.

    My previous employer only did commercial work (fuel stations for municipalities, FedEx, etc). Most companies do retail work (7/11, ExxonMobil, Texaco, etc).

    I could have obtained a job with a customer that does 99% retail, but they sell things to municipalities so technically they "compete". The previous employer said I could goto work there, as long as I don't try to "mess with him". I explained that the new employer wouldn't even hire me if I didn't have the agreement released. He wouldn't do it, even after I attempted to purchase it from him. (Saw that on here too, thanks!)

    He also fired his VP that was his church buddy at one time and said she quit. She did not receive unemployment benefits because it was a "he said/she said" situation. Ive seen this man fire a dispatch clerk 2 days before Thanksgiving because when the employee got to work 20 minutes before work he would sit in his car and read.

    I'm aware this background probably isn't necessary, but that is leading to this-I want to legally screw this man as hard as possible. It doesn't seem fair that a company with 10 employees has had more than 60 people come and go in the 5.5 years I had been there! Now he is trying to keep me from working, and there are no jobs really out there as it is.

    Also, I had a laptop in my service vehicle. It was mine and was assigned to me. I had no written agreement with this man saying he was going to monitor my pc- and I know he monitored it because he told me. He mentioned "Careerbuilder", and I believe this is part of the reason I was let go. Apparently, this is illegal? I have the right to assume a reasonable amount of privacy unless I am informed otherwise, am I correct? So I'm thinking maybe I have a case there as well, or I could at least use this to my advantage on the no compete.

    In closing, I'm not that guy. Not the one who screwed up continuously (I was NEVER written up) and wants a free meal ticket. I realize that violating the nepotism clause was allowable by my previous employer, and that family comes first. But now, that he is lying to my previous coworkers and saying I was "online surfing porn and didn't get ANY work finished" I believe I have had enough.

    I am speaking to a lawyer on Friday, but I thought I may get some opinions from you guys first. Im at the point that if I can get that lifted I may start my own business doing EXACTLY what I did with my previous employer and just out-work his old butt! Its not like there's alot of people hiring right now anyways.........

    Any ideas would be appreciated. Do I have a couple of lawsuits? Do I take my lumps like EVERY OTHER person has been forced to do?

    Thanks in advanced!

  • #2
    Sorry, the laptop belonged to the previous employer, but was assigned to me. Guess I coulda explained that a little better!

    Thanks again!


    • #3
      You would need to take the noncompete agreement to a local attorney to see whether it is enforceable. However, you might be in a better spot because you didn't leave his employment on your own to pursue other employment, rather he terminated the relationship. Sometimes that can help.

      As to the employer monitoring your laptop, since it is company owned, you have no right to privacy whether you were told this or not. I still can't believe how many employees think that they do on company owned equipment. If you used it to search for other job positions, yes, the employer could look and terminate you for it. There does not have to be a policy in writing -- especially since you admit that you knew he was monitoring it.


      • #4
        The ECPA says I have a right to expect "a reasonable amount of privacy"....and I didn't know he was monitoring it until after he let me go, I just was unaware that electronic surveillance is wrong without being notified until then.

        Plus, lying and telling people that I "spent most of the day looking up porn"? Isn't that slander or liable or something?!


        • #5
          Here's just one court case about email privacy and the EPCA and how it applies to emails using employer property: and if you happen to want to read about the three exceptions that employers have under the EPCA : Personally, I don't see that as a place to fight, but I would focus on the non-compete and the fact that you were terminated by them.

          As to what they are telling others (possibly being slander or libel), I suggest talking to that same attorney. There are too many factors to decide on a public message board whether it falls into one of those categories or not.


          • #6
            You know what, screw it. Im not that friggin petty. It just sucks that someone can go out and try to ruin your name with people who KNOW better and get away with it. I guess I could go picket in front of his shop, but I'm not that guy. Sad thing is the people he thinks he's "telling on" me too know better.

            But, in regards to the no compete- how do I handle that? Nobodys gonna hire me because of it; do I sue him for it and then try to be compensated for my lost wages BECAUSE I was unable to get a job? I open my own business and just start doing what I do and see if he sues me?

            Or just run the whole big long scenario across my lawyer?


            • #7
              Thanks again for your help!


              • #8
                You need to discuss your non-compete with a local attorney as suggested previously.
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


                • #9
                  Im onit! Thanks everyone.


                  • #10
                    You're welcome.
                    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


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