So much for 'The land of the free'
Microsoft ex-worldwide government general manager Matt Miszewski has been told by a US judge that he can't take a similar job with cloud computing rival Salesforce.com. Judge Kimberly Prochnau ruled in Washington's King County Superior Court yesterday that Miszewski, who only joined Salesforce in January this year, was in " …
I had to hire a lawyer once to explain a non-compete clause in my possible employment contract. What I learned it only applied if I left, not if I was layed off. And if they dismissed me they had to continue my salary for the duration of the non-compete clause.
But then to make things even more interesting, I live and work in Alabama which is a hard-right Right To Work state. Lawyer said there wasn't a judge in the state who would uphold a non-compete clause that didn't pay me at least as much to not work as to work.
All this guy has to do is move out of the state of Washington.
"All this guy has to do is move out of the state of Washington."
Before you rendered your legal opinion above (and this guy thereafter relied on your advice), your lawyer should have also pointed out standard clauses in the employment contract where this guy very likely agreed that proper place for MS to bring suit was in Washington, and that the contract would be interpreted under Washington state law, so moving probably would make no difference.
the State's Right to Work Law takes precedence over the non-compete clause, because Washington state doesn't write the laws for Alabama. MS would lose hands down at local and Superior court. What happens at US District Court or SCOTUS? How the hell knows these days. Which is a fundamental problem in our justice system. Too many potentates dispensing opinions rather than dispensing opinions based on reason and the rules of law.
It's hard to get a job in he states without signing one. I'm not saying that it's right, I find the Non compete Agreement to be a pain in the @ss depending on how it's worded. A company can own you long after you've left.
Mr. Miszewski should have known that MS was not going to let him go that easily. I'm sure MS covered all the bases on their contract, and he wouldn't have gotten the job with MS if he didn't agree to all the terms. The only thing he can probably do, again, depending on how it's worded, would be to take a position not related to that field or maybe be a contract employee (self employed) offering his services in something else entirely, letting the other company hire him for something entirely unrelated, but once in, doing what he's suppose to do.
There is a generally a time limit, 2 years is what I've seen. then again, I've seen some stating that anything that is invented in your lifetime that they feel is related to their business, they can own it.
These things can come back to haunt you very easily.
The laws for each state are different - California banning non-competes is allegedly one reason for the rapid growth of silicon valley.
The worst one is Massachusetts their courts have a history of enforcing non-competes so strongly, even when it wasn't part of the contract, that many companies have an unofficial policy of never hiring anyone who has been previously employed in MA because of the risk of a future lawsuit.
It's becoming a big problem for MIT spinouts, the students know if they go and work there then Google, Facebook, MSFT etc will probably not hire them.
This would never have worked if the subject had taken his MS job while in California. Non-competition agreements usually get tossed out here, unless you can demonstrate actually taking (not knowing about and then leaving the prior employer) your prior employer's IP.
One of the very good things about living in an otherwise very lititgious state....
Paris--because she's a California girl.
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