Employees that have been to courses

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Ocutter, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I was talking to a buddy of mine about an employee he had last season. This guy worked for a big co. in the area. Turns out he didnt like his position there, quit, and worked for my friend. He had been sent to school for a pest. license and other things by the big co.

    At the time they hired him, they had him sign a form saying that he was not to work for any other co. for 3 yrs. if his position was terminated. I was thinking of doing the same for employees I sent to classes. If they do quit on me, how do I follow up on whether or not they are keeping their end of the bargain. Anyone else do this type of thing?
     
  2. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    My experience is that non-compete's are enforceable as long as the employee received some sort of compensation for siging it. $200 is adequate compensation and it will hold up in court. However, you may need a lawyer to help you enforce it, and unfortunately they don't work for nothing.

     
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Here's what I've heard on the topic. I'm no expert.

    However, if the employee is educated, trained, etc., you will have a hard time enforcing any kind of non-compete; the guy has to earn a living. The courts will not look kindly on a company trying to prohibit a guy from finding employment in the feild he has prior training/education in.

    I wish I could quote the articles I read on this, but it's been awhile.

    If he's just a pair of arms, I don't know if a non-compete is worth your effort.
     
  4. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I thought that the non-competes (even though we have one) were basically to keep the disgruntled employee from going after an account of ours for a short period of time(18 months) and to protect things like trade secrets, the company name (- so they cant put an add in the press about what a ?? .. ?? .. ?? we were) and the like.

    Kris
     
  5. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    Most non-competes arn't worth the paper they are written on.
    The courts will not stop a person from earning a living in thier field of work. Non-competes really only apply if the ex employee uses confidential company information (customer lists, secret manufacturing processes, financial knowledge etc.)to steal customers or do other damaging things to the origional company. This type of thing usually applies only to people in upper management, research or similar positions. Also you need good lawers to make them stick
     
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Dan
    The prupose of the Restricive Covenant as far as Im concerned is to stop disgruntled employees from contacting my clients.

    So how is it that the agreement isnt worth the paper its written on ... Yet it will hold up in court if they go after our clients??

    Is this NOT the major purpose of this agreement to begin with??

    Now Im Confused
    Kris
     
  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    As I understand it, there are many purposes to a non-compete. So they don't go after your clients, so they don't steal company secrets, so they don't even work in the same industry, or within X# of miles of your business.

    If you were to hire someone with a masters in horticulture, and after a few years he decides to leave your employment, while you may prevent him from stealing your customers or using your trade secrets (though you'd have to catch him, sue him and prove damages), you can't prevent him from working in horticulture. You can try, and even if he signed a document saying so, the courts (as I understand it) would side with this employee.

    But I know they can't put ads in the paper talking about what a horrible employer and person you are. Or he could, but your slander/lible lawsuit would put him in the poorhouse fast.
     
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Thats what I thought Stone. But when I read what Dan had written, he was contradicting himself by saying the papers no good, but if they try to break that paper then we have a case.

    Kris
     
  9. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Since we're on the subject. This is what we use and it basically states that for a period of 18 months they cannot solicite our customers.

    I have worded it so that it does not try to keep them out of the Industry. This is what they do for a living I understand this aspect as well.

    Have I overlooked something possibly??

    Thanks for the help.
    Kris
     
  10. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    It appears that there are two different subjects being discuss here at the same time.....

    A non-compete for a subcontractor is much different than a non-compete for an employee. They are worded differently and have different intents.

    Kris's wording is for a subcontractor, and there are several ways to word this. It IS enforceable as I have been in court and have enforced it in an absolute manner. You may not restrict a subcontractor from working for others within the same industry, however you can stop them from going after your customers. Ours is worded slightly different, but accomplishes the same thing, and has been upheld in the PA court system. I also know that our wording has been upheld in several different states (as I have had this conversation with a number of snow contractors around the country).

    For an Employee non-compete there must be "consideration" given ($$$) to the employee for it to be enforceable. No 'consideration', no enforcement. In this case you can stop an employee from working for a competitor in the same market area. It cannot state that they cannot work anywhere but must state a specific market area. They can be stopped from "competing" with you by working for someone else. I've been here too and have had to enforce ours (in the court system) and it was upheld as legal (keeping in mind that I'm in PA and other states may be different). We used a labor lawyer for this (and that ain't no cheap date).

    I think it is entirely possible that two people here have been talking about different type non-compete's in the same paragraph..... They are different.....

    Sorry this is so long and involved. I just got carried away somewhat....

    [Edited by John Allin on 02-22-2001 at 05:45 PM]
     

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