Employment Restrictions

I currently work as a contract employee at Caterpillar Inc. I am a purchasing analyst and have been offered a position with a supplier to Caterpillar. Upon giving my notice, I was told by my Caterpillar work director (not my employer) that I could not take the position because it went against a Caterpillar Code of Conduct Rule. He stated that I could not work for the supplier on site at Caterpillar for 1 year. He explained that Cat employees or contract workers are not allowed to take positions with suppliers according to Purchasing Practice #49 which is within the Code of Conduct. The Caterpillar Code of Conduct is a class that Caterpillar employees have to take and they must pass a test to complete it. Contract employees do not take this class - are not allowed to take this class. In my employment agreement with Volt (my employer), there are no restrictions limiting my employment elsewhere. This isn't really a "non-compete". Where can I go for research on this topic?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 29, 2008 10:46 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Anthony Cameron

Well, this is one you don't see every day!

First you need to get from your employer every scrap of paper you signed or rec'd when you went to work there. You may have signed on to Cat's Code without even knowing it.

Second, understand you may be correct legally and still lose this one. Cat has the hammer over your prospective employer and nobody wants unhappy prime sources.

Third, as to resources. Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education has a fine volume and course transcript from a seminar on Non-Compete's.

Fourth, I think you are pennywise and pound foolish not to consult with a lawyer. There are several excellent employee rights firms in Peoria and you should loosen up and pay for a consult with one of them. There is a reasonable chance this can be resolved through modest corresponence. Once cat's legal department is involved, the source of this pronouncement may well sing a different tune.

Finally, in thinking about this, focus on what is called in the law "consideration". What did you get in exchange for "committing" to abide by this Employee Code? General rule, if the answer is "nothing," there is no enforceability because there was no meeting of the minds to enforce.

Good Luck. Email me if you want Peoria atty referrals.

posted by Anthony Cameron  |  Oct 29, 2008 5:30 PM [EST]

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