Arizona's - "Right to Work" vs "Non-Compete"

Non-Compete question:

I'm an employee working from my home in Phoenix, AZ. My employer is in St. Louis MO. and they would like for me to sign a non-compete after 3yrs of being employed.. they say that I should have already signed one but they can't find it.. (fyi: i have never signed one) but whatever..

Doesn't the arizona's "Right to Work" trump a non-compete clause ??

Thanks for your response!!

1 answer  |  asked Oct 22, 2004 12:28 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Right to Work has nothing to do with non-competes

Your situation raises issues too numerous to address. You should consult with an employment attorney about signing the non-compete agreement. But the simple answer to your final question is a definite "no."
Arizona, like nine other states, has laws protecting the "right to work." This term refers to a law that prohibits an employer and a union from agreeing that union membership will be required as a condition of employment. It distinguishes these states from others which allow such agreements. The law has nothing to do with non-compete agreements, which are individual agreements between an employer and an employee whereby the employee agrees not to go to work for a competitor after leaving the employer. Arizona courts will uphold such agreements, but only if they are necessary to protect legitimate interests of the employer, and only if they are reasonably limited both in length of time and geographic scope.
When you talk to the attorney, you need to discuss several issues. First, is the agreement really a non-compete, or is it something else, like an anti-piracy agreement? Second, is it governed by Arizona law or Missouri law? Third, what consideration is being given by the employer in return for the agreement? Fourth, is your employment terminable at will? If so, does the agreement apply regardless of how your termination comes about? The time to get answers to these questions is before you sign the agreement.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Oct 22, 2004 6:52 PM [EST]

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