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1)In Arizona, if an employee signs a form "unavailable"

Customer Question
Good morning; 1)In Arizona...

Good morning; 1)In Arizona, if an employee signs a form "unavailable" stating he/she is restricted from seeking employement at competing business, is that legal?

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Non union grocery and I was full time department manager for 20 yrs, now FT department employee. 2) Is the "Right to work State" allow an employeer to demote an employee with/without a reason. Complicated Thank You

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Arizona

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

At the moment no.

Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
9/15/2017
Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,160
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you need to know that Arizona is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

I think that's what you mean when you ask about demotion. "Right to work" has to do with unions, meaning that you can't be required to join a union as a precondition to employment. It wouldn't have any applicability here.

As far as the noncompete is concerned... Arizona will enforce a non-compete, if it is reasonable and reasonably tailored to protect a legitimate business interest of the employer. A noncompete agreement can be enforced if it protects a legitimate business interest. These include trade secrets, confidential information, customer relationships. Under Arizona law, a restrictive covenant will be considered unreasonable and unenforceable: 1) if the restraint is greater than necessary to protect the employer's legitimate interest; or 2) if that interest is outweighed by the hardship to the employee and the likely injury to the public. Generally, non-competition restrictive covenants are either reasonable and enforceable or unreasonable and unenforceable. However, "if it is clear from its terms that a contract was intended to be severable, the court can enforce the lawful part and ignore the unlawful part." So ultimately it depends on what is being protected, and how restrictive the agreement is. A non-competition clause is generally disfavored by the American legal system. Arizona is particularly harsh on the enforcement of restrictive covenants, but in certain instances, it can be used.

Non-compete litigation is very expensive, and companies make decisions to pursue these cases based on economic factors. It's unlikely that this clause would actually stand, particularly if you were not a high level executive. It would be most likely determined to be a restraint in trade. And in that regard, even if they were to be successful, they would be out $15,000 or more on litigation costs.

Again, they're going to make this determination based upon economics. If you were a high level executive and it was reasonable that you leaving and working for someone else would have a direct impact on the bot***** *****ne, greater than the costs of litigation times and taking into account the risk of loss, then it might be feasible that they would go after you. But given your position, and the likelihood that a court would reform the agreement (and thus remove any fees that would have to be paid, etc...) it's unlikely that the company will actually try to enforce it.

Most of the time these agreements are signed with the bluff in mind. That is, the company doesn't expect to enforce it, but can tell the employee that you can't compete while waving the form in the air. I've really only seen high level executives sued for enforcement, because of the potential impact to the bot***** *****ne. Of course your employer could be more vindictive than most, and sue when it really doesn't make any economic sense to do so. But that's almost never the case.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions).

If you can't see the stars, you may need to scroll up / down / left / or right to see them. This is where you rate so that the question will close out.

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

Hello?

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 9 months ago

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

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