Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear that you have found yourself in this position. Concerning your question, if you refuse to sign a non-compete your company would be allowed to terminate your employment as long as you are seen as an at will employee.
That being said, if you are fired for refusing to sign, this would not be seen as misconduct, and you would be able to collect unemployment.
You would claim, quite rightly, that you were terminated "without cause" and seek unemployment benefits.
You would not be able to seek damages, but you would be able to contest the termination as being ultimately invalid.
If, however, you are part of a union, or have an employment agreement stating you can only be fired for cause, then they would not be able to terminate you for refusing to sign
Which one are we talking about. The temp agency or the potential new employer. This employment agency is who is paying at present. The switch from the temp agency to On Processing Technology should be soon. I attempted to discuss this with the temp agency and she overlooked this entirely. Would I be fired by the temp agency or the new employer?
I feel the temp agency is only concerned about the buy out money from On Processing Technology.
Well at will employment means that your employer is allowed to terminate your employment for any reason that does not violate your civil rights or is in breach of contract. Thus, technically speaking, anyone who is writing your paychecks could terminate you if they wanted to.
Of course, there is no guarantee that they are going to require the non-compete
As many non-competes in situations like this are deemed to be invalid, the company may just just to negate it in your contract
may just try to negate it
So On Processing Technology has a few options. 1) choose to allow you to continue employment there without the non-compete, or 2) fire you for not signing. If they want you there, they will likely not be to stringent about the non-compete if you refuse to sign it.
Given the fact that nothing has been required by the temp agency, it is unlikely that they would fire you
But again, in a theory of at will employment, anything is possible
From what I have been told is that they require everyone to sign it. That has been the past practice.
Correct, but much like any job, everything is negotiable.
Should I ask the temp agency if I signed such a document without knowing?
You definitely can
But a covenant not to compete can only be enforced if it is reasonable, based on all of the circumstances.
If i signed something with the temp agency and was not aware of it. Just because I refused a non-compete clause with On Processing Technology would not be reason for the temp agency to fire me. Would it.
It wouldn't be a reason to be fired if you had a for cause employment agreement. Unfortunately, if you are an at will employee (which is the default in Massachusetts) then they would be able to fire you just because you wore a red shirt yesterday. They do not need a specific reason.
Though it would not make any logical sense to fire you.
And again, if they did, you would be able to receive unemployment
And again, if your employment would not result in any exploitation of previous contacts, or injure the plaintiff's established business in any way, then they would not try to enforce a non-compete anyway
Here is a great case which deals with that concept further
Both cases basically state that an employer is not entitled to protection against ordinary competition, and that any portion of the noncompete deemed not to be enforced would be divisible
i.e. anything not necessary for the protection of the good will of the employer's business would be non-enforceable
Does that make sense?
Thank you. I believe I better understand the situation. I have written to the temp agency and asked if I signed any sort of agreement with their agency.
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ty for your help.
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