Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Sandwich chain investigated for non-compete agreement

Employment law is in place to protect workers in every industry in New York and across the country. Enacted to ensure that employment contracts are within the rights of everyone involved, various issues often arise that lead to questions about employer behavior and why certain rules are placed into these contracts. These issues can arise regardless of the industry whether it's a large company or a chain of stores or restaurants. Many implement a non-compete agreement to shield themselves from employees departing and taking inside information with them for other companies to utilize.

A sandwich chain is under investigation because of a document employees signed when they were first hired that is preventing them from seeking similar work at other stores once they depart. It states that workers are not able to work at other stores for two years after they leave the chain in question. The New York State Attorney General is looking into this agreement as it might violate employment law. There is a question as to how far this agreement goes and if it might stop a person from working at any sandwich shop and not just direct competitors.

Contracts are put in place to protect both employers and employees to have a clear set of rules in place to shield both sides from predictable eventualities. However, these employment contracts sometimes run afoul of established employment law specifically or in their intended purpose. Employment litigation is sometimes possible to try and regain the rights to work in certain industries when the contract was deemed to have been unreasonable or unfair. Knowing what's legal and illegal when it comes to agreements surrounding competition can mean the difference between being able to take a similar job or not.

It might sound strange that workers at a sandwich shop are asked to sign such an agreement. The state's Attorney General is looking into it to decide whether it's so broad-based that it is not in line with what the employment law was meant to imply when it was put into place. This is not a remote incident in the competitive world whether it's making sandwiches or doing anything else. Those who have questions about these contracts meeting employment regulations should discuss the matter with an experienced legal professional.

Source: CBSNews.com, "This Jimmy John's labor practice is drawing fire," Mitch Lipka, Dec. 23, 2014

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