References: <3DE526FA.7010908@BOGUS.earthlink.net> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Who owns your mind?
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4920.2300
Date: Sun, 01 Dec 2002 01:41:03 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002 20:41:03 EST
Organization: Cox Communications
"Jim Thompson" wrote in message
> On Fri, 29 Nov 2002 18:29:26 GMT,
> "Mike" ,
> |Here's the point: I offer you $1 million to not design certain products
> |the next five years. You agree, and we draw up a contract. According to
> |attorney, this is perfectly legal. The non-compete clause attached to a
> |stock option is similar.
> |-- Mike --
> "certain products" makes it specific enough to restrain you from doing
> the same for someone else, but "not to work as an engineer" is a whole
> different animal.
> ...Jim Thompson
Could be. There's apparently a legal principle that you can't contractually
require someone not to work at all. At the same time, it is okay to
contractually require someone not to work at one particular thing. In the
middle, there's plenty of gray area.
To be more specific to my case, our attorney was addressing our stock option
clause, which specifically stated that we would not work on anything similar
to what we had been working on for two years after leaving the company. Our
employer was very clear about their interpretation of the clause (we had a
long contentious series of meetings about it): if we drove the dump truck
that delivered sand to be melted down into ingots, that would be okay. If we
pushed the button to turn on the furnace that melted the sand, we would be
Our attorney only advised us that the non-compete clause could be enforced,
but not that our employer's broad interpretation of what constituted
competition was correct.
In the end, they did take action against one engineer, but he sued, and
after some saber rattling the company settled.
-- Mike --