Severance, at will and non-compete

Hello, I'm a commissioned sales representative who will be laid off without cause ( at will employee ). I was asked to sign a non-compete agreement when this current company purchased my former company as a condition of continued employment. My question is two-fold. My compensation is 100% commission, and while I'm being told that I will be paid all commission, they are offering a 4 week severance; 1: are they really paying me anything since any pay I get now is a draw against commissions, and 2: the non compete is for 2 years, how enforceable is that in PA. Seems a long time.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 19, 2009 4:10 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Unlock Non-Compete Agreements: Keys to Escape

Answers (1)

Harold Goldner
No free lunches

There are really two questions here, and you probably don't realize it.

If you don't sign anything at all, the non-compete is probably not enforceable for a 2 year period (and possibly not even at all). There is some case law suggesting that where an employer discharges an employee they do not value that employee's services highly enough to warrant prohibiting that employee from working for someone else.

Non-competes have to be reasonable as to scope (activities covered, geographical area, and length of time) and have to be designed to protect the employer.

Now the flip side. The employer doesn't have to pay you severence at all. My guess is the documents you need to sign to get the severence will contain a new non-compete covenent which may well be enforceable.

So, you might want to have that paperwork and your entire situation reviewed by an employment lawyer before you sign on any dotted lines.


posted by Harold Goldner  |  Jan 19, 2009 4:23 PM [EST]

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