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Let's say I work in agriculture, for a 3rd party labor

Let's say I work in...
Let's say I work in agriculture, for a 3rd party labor contractor. The company I work for supplies seasonal labor for a larger company. I recently applied for a full time position with one of these companies and got the job! Now my current employer is saying cannot quite bc I am under a non-compete policy which covers 50 miles and all agricultural businesses. (FYI, 50 miles is our whole island).Is this a legitimate policy? The policy states if I go work somewhere else, he will charge me 2 months of pay. I thought law prevented him from not paying me money that I earned through working hours! Please help!
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
7/6/2017
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,389
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question....

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you for your help.

In Hawaii, non-compete agreements may be enforced by the employer so long as they are reasonable with regard to time and geographical area, and protect a legitimate business interest. Generally, restrictions of up to two years and covering areas where the employer actually does business will be considered reasonable by a court.

Unfortunately, this means that a non-compete agreement such as yours is enforceable. Your employer could not legally deduct from your earned wages to pay itself the penalty or damages called for in your contract, but they could sue you to recover that money, and they could also terminate your employment. Since you would be terminated for violating a provision in the contract you signed, it's also likely you'd be denied unemployment benefits on the ground that your termination was foreseeable and avoidable.

I truly wish I had better news. If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Does it make any difference that this is a very low labor position? The position with the company is like $11 per hour. No special skill set or anything. And there is a huge amount of agricultural employment on our island. It's like trickery that he put this policy in place.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Or does it make any difference that I didn't sign of on that particular policy, but just initialed and the bottom of the page after a different section, picture of paperwork attached.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Also, is there any chance that you could provide the link that states legally he has to pay the last check.

Unfortunately, the pay scale of the position is unlikely to make any difference, nor is the fact that only initials were signed on the bottom of the page. If the contract was signed and this was part of the contract, then it is presumed that you agreed to this clause.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What a scammer, but thank you for your help! Fortunately, the larger ag business is going to stop working with this contractor all together... and this was just, as they say, icing on the cake.

Here is a link to the law which restricts an employer's ability to deduct from earned wages. Note that there is no exception for circumstances in which the employer believes they have a legal claim for damages arising from breach of contract against the employee. Here is a link to the law requiring an employer to pay all earned wages upon separation of employment.

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I don't blame you for being frustrated, I would feel the same way. I hope I have answered your questions, though.

Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,389
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Patrick, Esq. and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Oh, more question, would the 2 months pay be expected to be paid immediately, or would a reasonable amount of time to be that back be acceptable?

If the agreement does not say, then the law would presume a reasonable amount of time, and as a practical matter your employer is likely to grant that anyway because litigation is never the first resort. It's time consuming and expensive and employers would definitely rather avoid it if they can.

I hope this helps!

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Perfect, thank you!

No problem!

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