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Signing a noncompete ... please advise.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MrWrite, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. MrWrite

    MrWrite Member

    So the place I've worked for more than five years suddenly wants me to sign a non-compete (complete with some ridiculous parameters) and says it's "a condition of my continued employment."

    I haven't had a raise in the last four years, so is this their way of trying to keep me around? <i>We'd love to give you more money to keep you, but instead, sign this. MUAHAHAHAHAHA </a>

    Then again, I don't have a lot of other work options in this area, so I don't want to get fired, but I also don't want to sign this. So, at long last, my question: Is it legal for them to tell me to sign it or hit the bricks even after I've been working there so long? I thought you might have to make someone sign such a thing before hiring them.

    Any feedback/advice is appreciated.....
  2. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    I don't know about the legal ramifications, but if you haven't had a raise in the last four years, maybe it's time for you to leave.
  3. BujuBanton

    BujuBanton Member

    Man this reminds me of the Don Nelson/Mark Cuban ordeal. Maybe you should go to the competition's paper in the same conference and win in the first round of the playoffs....
  4. MrWrite

    MrWrite Member

    riddick...believe me, i've considered that fact.

    anyone know any of the legal stuff, though?
  5. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    I'm curious as to what the parameters are. Is it strictly a non-compete or are there performance issues in it, too? Is it a non-compete for newspapers only or other news outlets as well? What is the market distance of the non-compete?

    Non-competes are pretty standard with upper management in newspapers. If you're not at that level, I'd had a lawyer take a look at it. Might cost a few bucks but could save you a few in the long term.

    However, I agree with Riddick. I don't get a raise for four years, I'm looking elsewhere.
  6. MrWrite

    MrWrite Member

    That's the thing. I'm not upper mgmt, I don't have any "trade secrets" or anything. There are no performance issues in it -- it's strictly a noncompete and the scope (because some of the competition is web-related) basically covers, albeit in vague language, anywhere in the U.S. covering what I cover. That part of it is major bullshit.

    And i've looked at other gigs, just haven't been able to actually get one. Meantime, this one pays the bills and allows me some schedule flexibility, so the lack of raises has a positive flip side. Still, having me make less essentially every year (inflation,etc) only to have them force this on me makes me angry. and it makes me not want to sign.

    just figured all the wanna-be lawyers from the running law school thread might be able to lend a hand ;)
  7. HackyMcHack

    HackyMcHack Member

    I can see the value of a local non-compete agreement. The New York Post should be able to protect itself from having its writers jump to the New York Times. But a national non-compete agreement? When you haven't had a raise for the last four years? Major, major red flag. And possibly unenforceable in court. (I'm not a lawyer, however, so don't take that as legal advice)
  8. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    Par Ridder had no trouble deciding, apparently with no consultation from anyone else, that he could just forget about his. I'm sure you can do the same.
  9. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Lawyer up.
  10. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Are you in a union? If so, let your union rep figure it out.

    If you're not, you're working at their pleasure.

    It sucks, but it's one of their requirements for working there now. So like they said, sign it or hit the bricks.
  11. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    It's not just newspapers. When I did graphic design at an advertising firm, I had to sign a non-compete form when I was hired saying that if I leave, I won't try to court their clients for an x-amount of time. I guess whether you want to sign it depends on the parameters.

    And like other people said here: If you haven't gotten a raise in four years, you might want to think about moving on.
  12. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    Ask a lawyer. several states have made non-competes illegal in recent years. I think Illinois and New York are two recent examples. Connecticut is also close to banning non-competes for those in the broadcast industry. If they're telling you you can't work at another place even if its 50-miles or more away, F-- them. You have to put food on the table. If they're going to be pricks about it, then walk.
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