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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

Editorial Dubs Employees Who Violate Non-Competes "Worse Than Pirates"

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I don't have any problem with an editorial writer taking a position on an issue regarding non-competes. But when you present your position from the vantage point of giving purportedly unbiased guidance, you then assume the obligation to lay out the pros and cons of the position objectively. 

The following paragraph from a February 23 editorial reveals that Ms. Curry completely - and transparently - failed at this elemental task, because she inherently assumes that honest employees, even if unencumbered by a non-compete clause, should refrain from competing with their former employer in their chosen profession for an undefined "reasonable period of time." 

While I certainly understand and appreciate her sentiment, she paints this as a black and white issue, and does not acknowledge the employee's vantage point, i.e., "Why should I forego making the most money I can - where I have all of my experience - if I'm not being paid to sit on the sidelines?"

Stated differently, what does an employee owe their former employer if they no longer work for them, aren't being paid by them, and aren't contractually bound to them? From the employee's perspective the answer is both simple and straightforward:

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

But Ms. Curry assumes that an employees' duty, or "integrity" requires them to remain on ice for some amorphous future, stating:

"Sometimes the budding entrepreneurs decide against running their own businesses and remain employees. Often these entrepreneurs-in-the-making sign and comply with non-compete agreements because of their own innate integrity. At other times, individuals agree not to start their own businesses for a reasonable time after leaving without intending to keep their promise.

Her ideas don't comport with the law or public policy in most jurisdictions, and therefore, at least in my view, lead readers down a wrong path of thinking - if they're looking to protect their business from a rational, grounded perspective.

Category: General