Answers Posted By Chris Wilms

Answer to What do I do?

There are a few options. One is to negotiate a release of potential claims in exchange for a release of the non-compete. Another is to ignore it and take the risk that he/she is bluffing. Another is to file a declaratory judgment action declaring the non-compete unenforceable.

Non-competes are restraints on trade, and are heavily disfavored in the law. In order to have an enforceable, several legal requirements must be met.

Getting a lawyer familiar with recent non-compete case law developments would be helpful in advising you on which options are going to be most beneficial for you. There has been some substantial development in this field by the NC Court of Appeals in the last few months.

posted Dec 16, 2014 08:08 AM [EST]

Answer to Can my supervisor require me to attend after work social events, ie dinner or drinks?

This is a complex issue. You may be looking at a possible wage and hour violation if it is required to attend and if your raises/promotions are affected by failure to attend. You should be compensated for your time if you are required to attend. That being said, some employees are exempt employees and in that case there may be nothing that can be done. Being paid a salary rather than hourly is not necessarily the outcome determinative factor. I would have to know more about the work you do to make that determination.

If you're terminated/demoted/not promoted, or some other adverse employment action is taken against you for complaining about wages, there's a separate cause of action called the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act which provides additional statutory damages.

Both Wage and Hour Act and REDA violations can be reported to the NC Dept of Labor. You should consider acting quickly as there are applicable statutes of limitation which bar you from pursuing a claim after a certain period of time. Calling the NCDOL is the first step to filing a complaint against your employer.

Practically, it may be a mere misunderstanding of the law and corrective action by someone with authority (HR, executives, etc.) might need to intercede to explain to the manager what is wrong with his requirements. Also practically, there are children at home that need to be fed and any legal action is a lengthy process so you will want to think holistically about the best course of action for those affected.

posted Feb 14, 2012 9:06 PM [EST]

Answer to If I refuse to sign a "separation agreement and release" does this disqualify me from receiving UI?

Refusing to sign a separation agreement is not the same thing as resigning. Based on the info you provided, it sounds like a clever way to get a month of work out of you in exchange for a release of claims and no payout of unemployment benefits.

If you were fired and it sounds like you were, the appeal was the right thing to do. If you have a hearing scheduled, you may want to read the regulations on hearings. The rules for how the hearing will go are posted on the Division of Employment Security website. If you've never been to this type of hearing, it's a lot like a mini-court trial but with looser rules of evidence.

posted Feb 5, 2012 9:23 PM [EST]

Answer to Told I was laid off than terminated

If you signed a severance agreement, which may be entitled something different, like "Separation and Release Agreement" you will want to look through it to see if a reduction in severance pay is something you agreed to if you were found to be terminated for just cause.

Also, you may get some answers by calling them -- at least as to finding out what the just cause was.

If, ultimately, you get to a point where you believe that the other half of the severance was owed but not paid, severance pay would count as wages under the Wage and Hour Act, which provides statutory damages in a lot of cases in addition to the wages themselves.

posted Feb 1, 2012 12:42 PM [EST]

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