A legal question about employment contracts…?

My son is about to start a job where they want him to sign a contract stating that if the employment is terminated for any reason, he cannot work for any company that sells electronics for 18 months. I assume they could consider Walmart, Target, Sears or any other place that sells electronic equipment. Wouldn’t that be denying him a livelihood? Especially in this economy where you need to take what you can get!
Can anyone tell me if they can actually enforce this?
Thank you!
Thanks Sam, that is what I was afraid of!
Ralph…I agree!
Thank you all for your helpful answers! I don’t think I can choose a best one, as they were all equally helpful!
He has decided not to take the job and is currently looking elsewhere.
Thanks again for the great answers!

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5 Responses to “A legal question about employment contracts…?”

  1. Rathorien L Says:

    Non-compete agreements are not uncommon with large retailers, but they are also rarely enforced against employees that are not involved in management positions and they are also often not enforceable in many states depending on their scope and reasonableness.

    If your son is being employed as a storefront sales associate I would not worry about the non-compete. If he is being hired in a management position and is still interested in the job it would be advisable for him to have an attorney review the non-compete agreement to assess the reasonableness of its scope and its enforceability in your state.

  2. Sam Says:

    yes they can and most of the companies enforce this rule for 6months because of the conflict of interest.

  3. Ralph N Says:

    do not sign, look for a different job.

  4. allardja Says:

    This is not unusual. It’s called a non-compete. They’re concerned that your son will take company secrets to the new employer. In my opinion, most employers do not enforce it. However, they have ever right to if they wanted to. If your son has a job that can only be done at these stores that sell electronics, then he might not want to risk it. If he can do his job at other places, then why not give it a shot?

  5. michr Says:

    generally non-compete clauses are not enforceable and in some states are just illegal unless…..
    the job involves proprietary, confidential information and/or "trade secrets". even when/where a non-compete is enforceable this one would not be based on the length of time (18 months).

    ANY contract should include the consequences of a breach and the same types of protections for the employee as are provided for the employer.