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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Minnesota
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    Hmm Non-Compete Clause

    I am a recent tech school graduate and I have been working in the field since before I started school. I have been working a job for about two months now, and in the Employee Agreement packet there is a Non-Compete Clause that states that if an when I leave this company, I cannot work in any related field (HVAC Controls and Building Automation) for three years, anywhere in America. So far, I have gotten away without signing it, and I will not do so until I have sat down with my boss. I live and work in Minnesota. Is this sort of thing even enforceable? Is it standard for that to be included in those contracts?

    I just wanted to get a feel for what you all thought. Let me know if I should be worried about it, please.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Visalia California 93291
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABrand View Post
    I am a recent tech school graduate and I have been working in the field since before I started school. I have been working a job for about two months now, and in the Employee Agreement packet there is a Non-Compete Clause that states that if an when I leave this company, I cannot work in any related field (HVAC Controls and Building Automation) for three years, anywhere in America. So far, I have gotten away without signing it, and I will not do so until I have sat down with my boss. I live and work in Minnesota. Is this sort of thing even enforceable? Is it standard for that to be included in those contracts?

    I just wanted to get a feel for what you all thought. Let me know if I should be worried about it, please.

    Thank you.
    No Compete typically is you will not go after any customers of your current employer, they cannot stop you from working in the trade- Read it again

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Apache Junction, Arizona
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    you can safely sign it .. it just protects the company from you working for them.... and then leaving..... starting your own company and taking their clients with you. You see this clause alot in this trade when you work for a HVAC Company
    "I never lie because I don't fear anyone. You only lie when you're afraid." - John Gotti

    “Always shoot first . . . that way they know you’re armed!” - Orrin Porter Rockwell

    "Individuals and entities performing contracting work illegally and without a license place the public at risk and effectively steal millions from Arizona's hardworking, law-abiding contractors and their employees," - Jeff Fleetham, director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Arizona
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    Most of these clauses do not hold up if they ever get to court.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Indianapolis, In
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    You should be safe, work for a large company here and they have the same thing. They can only say you will not contact their customers or solicit their employees for a certain period of time.
    Not sure about Minnesota but it seems everyone around Indiana just gives the customer list to a salesman who makes the contact. I would think trying to say you can't work in your trade would be illegal.

    Good luck

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Iowa
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    I suggest you go back and re-read the employment contract. I seriously doubt you are being offered a gauranteed "Job or Life" were a clause like this could be wanted. Also I'm just reading between the lines this is not a union shop as they would never require such a thing. As has already been stated this is so you do not steal away your companies customers, reducing their income. Or if you start your own HVAC business you will not actively bid against them for work in your same area (city/county) which would reduce their income.

    As there is in many contracts there are "if" and "then" clauses (liquidated damages). The "IF" being you leave and go to work for another company in the same area. The "THEN" being the damages such as: 1. You will reimburse your company for all paid training they provided in the past X years. 2. You must return all tools they provided for you to use. 3. You will not divulge any patent secrets, proprietary drawings or intectual information you may have had access to and knowledge of.

    As an hourly (non-exempt) worker they can not bar or prevent you from leaving their employment and reamin working in the HVAC field for any amount of time. There is no court in this country that would ever hear that case.

    Me I would read it, make a copy of it, and sign it, as I suspect it is not enforcable.

    Good Luck welcome to the field

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    27,404
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    Can you copy and paste the Non-Compete Clause / Agreement document it in here?

    Or scan it in, or whatever?

    PHM
    -------


    Quote Originally Posted by ABrand View Post
    I am a recent tech school graduate and I have been working in the field since before I started school. I have been working a job for about two months now, and in the Employee Agreement packet there is a Non-Compete Clause that states that if an when I leave this company, I cannot work in any related field (HVAC Controls and Building Automation) for three years, anywhere in America. So far, I have gotten away without signing it, and I will not do so until I have sat down with my boss. I live and work in Minnesota. Is this sort of thing even enforceable? Is it standard for that to be included in those contracts?

    I just wanted to get a feel for what you all thought. Let me know if I should be worried about it, please.

    Thank you.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
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    124
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    Tell them to pound sand. I would not ever limit my options.

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  13. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
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    I wouldn't sign it either even if it doesn't mean what you think it means.

  14. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Georgia
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    Dont sign it, especially if you are a tech. Management position maybe for a limited area, but this agreement sounds ludicrous.

  15. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Atlanta,Ga.
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    Just curious!!!Ask your boss what he did when he went into business for himself.Where did his customers all come from.If you leave the company,and customers seek you out,You are not taking their customers.They are coming to you.If they were happy with your current company,They would not be having you do their work.That is called fair business practice.

  16. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Pahrump, NV
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    I am not qualified to give legal advise. These are just my thoughts based on personal experience.

    First, consider a program called Legal Shield. I don't represent them, but I am considering becoming a member. You can look them up on-line.

    The more unilateral (one sided) the contract is, the less enforceable it will likely be. If they truly stated "anywhere in the America", just about any court in the United States would deem that to be too broad, and therefore unenforceable. However, if the document stated "St. Paul, MN", then the contract would much more likely be enforceable.

    Time limits work in a similar fashion. Three years is a bit extreme, but that portion could be enforceable for say, St. Paul, MN if St. Paul was the company's primary business area. One year is much more typical. They would have a hard time protecting Minneapolis by including it in the contract if they had no current business in Minneapolis.

    If the company is paying for your education/training, then they have a bit more standing, and the contract could have a provision that requires you to pay them back if you leave.

    I signed one of those in the past where I wrote in "signed under duress" because they were clearly forcing me to sign a document that I had not agreed to prior to being hired. In that case, I was ready for a fight and prepared to take a hike.

    The Chief tore up the document and said, "You can't sign it that way!"

    I responded with, "That is proof that I am signing under duress".

    I'm not recommending that you take that hard line.
    It's an upside down world we live in.

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  18. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    I don't know much about employment contracts, but in some contracting contracts including illegal clauses in the contract makes the entire thing null and void.

    If that ends up being the case in your situation then sign away because they can't enforce anything on the entire contract

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