Can I Void a Non-Compete Agreement in New York?
A non-compete agreement might seem like a trivial work request when you sign it, but the terms of that agreement can severely limit your ability to make a living after you separate from your employment. So what happens if you signed a non-compete agreement that has eliminated your job prospects? There are ways around a non-compete agreement, but you need to know what to look for in the agreement terms and characteristics of your old job. How Does a Non-Compete Work? A business might maintain a competitive edge by offering a superior product, offering better prices, keeping business and product formulas a secret, or preventing its employees from working for a competitor. Non-compete agreements keep former employees from directly competing with a business by barring them from doing certain work for competing businesses or in certain geographical areas. When you apply for a new job, your prospective employer might ask you if you’re subject to any non-compete agreements. If a prospective employer believes that non-compete terms make hiring you too risky, you could lose a job opportunity. Also, a former employer could sue you for breaking a non-compete agreement. If you lose at trial, you might lose your new job and have to pay damages. Breaking a non-compete agreement can be painful, so it’s important to know your options for voiding a non-compete contract before you sign one and before you apply for a new job. How Do I Get Out of a Non-Compete Agreement? The first step to voiding a non-compete contract is understanding when a non-compete agreement is enforceable in New York. To help prevent employee abuse, the State of New York requires that non-compete contracts adhere to the following guidelines: Their terms must be necessary to protect the employer’s legitimate interests, Their terms can’t impose an undue hardship on the employee, Their terms can’t harm the public, and The time period and geographic scope they cover must be reasonable. If a non-compete agreement doesn’t comply with these guidelines, it’s unenforceable as written. A court might rewrite an unenforceable agreement or throw the whole agreement out altogether. You Can Void a Non-Compete by Proving Its Terms Aren’t Necessary Many employers use non-compete agreements to prevent skilled employees with company secrets from taking their skills and secrets to competitors. If your work with your former employer didn’t require specialized skills or didn’t give you access to confidential business information, a court might deem the contract terms unnecessary and free you from restrictions on your job search. If you want to void a non-compete agreement, you should be clear about your former job obligations and the tools you needed to fulfill them. You Can Void a Non-Compete by Proving How Severely Its Terms Would Affect You The inability to make a living could be an “undue hardship” that renders a non-compete unenforceable. Think about your job skills and the specific terms of the non-compete agreement you signed. If the terms of the agreement make it almost impossible for someone with your skills to find a new job, you might be able to void the agreement. But be aware that the inability to make the same wages or work the same exact job isn’t always an undue hardship. You Can Void a Non-Compete by Proving Your Job Skills Are Rare and Necessary for Public Health If the job you perform helps the public in a significant way (e.g., healthcare, environmental protection, etc.) and there aren’t many people in your area who can do your job, non-compete agreement terms that prevent you from working might create unenforceable harm to the public. You Can Void a Non-Compete by Proving Its Terms Go Too Far or Last Too Long Whether a non-compete is unenforceable because it covers too large of a geographical area or it lasts too long can depend on many factors. Enforceability can depend on your industry, skills, location, etc. An experienced employment attorney can determine what non-compete terms aren’t reasonable in your case. Seek Attorney Help to Fight for Your Livelihood At Ottinger Employment Lawyers, we are consistently successful and aggressive advocates for employees’ rights. We have also experienced attorneys who value constant communication with our clients to help ensure we get what they need. We want to help you thrive in the workplace. Give us a call at 866-234-3862 or contact us online. For details about our New York office, click here. Read More
How Many Days in a Row Can You Work in California?
If you are working 7 days in a row in California, you might be entitled to overtime pay. But can your employer require you to work this schedule? In many cases, your employer can’t require you to work seven days or more in a row. However, there are exceptions to this rule and certain loopholes you should understand before you file a complaint over an extreme work schedule. General Rules for Work Schedules in California It’s important to understand your rights as an employee whenever you start a new job or whenever your existing employer makes a request. A key question you might ask is, How many days in a row can you work in CA? In general, every worker should have days of rest. California law normally prohibits an employer from requiring you to work more than six out of seven days. On the surface, this rule might seem pretty straightforward. However, the rule doesn’t always mean that your employer can’t require you to work seven days in a row. Please read on for clarification. California’s Rest Day Rules Aren’t Always About Consecutive Days of Work Looking at the law’s wording, it states that you can’t be required to work “more than six days in seven.” The law clarifies this wording by stating that employees who work jobs that reasonably need longer work weeks can be required to work seven or more days in a row, as long as one out of every seven days in the month is a rest day. This means that all your rest days could potentially come at one point in the month without creating a violation. California’s Rest Day Rules Don’t Apply to All Employees The nature of your work and your particular employee status might also change your entitlement to rest days. The rule that your employer can’t require you to work more than six out of seven days doesn’t apply to common carriers in the train industry or employees needed in certain emergency situations. This rule also doesn’t apply to employees who don’t work more than 30 hours in a week and don’t work more than six hours any day. Determining whether loopholes or exceptions in California’s rest day rules apply to you isn’t always easy. But don’t worry. An experienced employment attorney has the skills and understanding to effectively advocate for your rest days. An attorney can also help you make the best decision about whether to file a complaint. Contact Us Schedule your flat-rate consultation. What to Do If There Was a Rest Day Law Violation Maybe you have the answer to the question, How many days in a row can you work in CA? Maybe you’ve determined that your employer violated the law by depriving you of rest days. What happens now? You can file a complaint with the California Department of Industrial Relations against your employer. Ultimately, your employer’s labor law violation could entitle you to damages or subject your employer to criminal penalties. Contacting an Attorney Today Can Protect You Against Mistreatment Standing up to your employer is rarely easy and often requires expert help. At Ottinger Employment Lawyers, we’ve been winning justice for mistreated employees for over 20 years. We are aggressive, we are professional, and we care about your needs. Contact us online or call us at 866-476-7426 for a consultation. We’re here to talk and solve your employment problems. For details about our Los Angeles office, click here. For details about our San Francisco office, click here. Read More
What Are Time Clock Laws in California?
If you’re an employee in California, make sure your employer pays you for your time and lets you rest. California law takes proper employee compensation and break times seriously. If an employer violates California time clock laws regarding employee breaks and compensation, they might have to pay damages. To receive damages for time clock violations, employees need to know their rights and their employers’ obligations. California Time Clock Laws Regarding Compensation California law typically requires your employer to timely and regularly pay you for all your working time. California timekeeping requirements also obligate your employer to keep detailed records of your payroll history and make them available to you. If you inspect your payroll records, you might notice that the amount of time your employer pays you for doesn’t always match the amount of time you actually work. This is likely because your employer engages in rounding hours. Some employers round the hours or minutes their employees work to simplify payroll calculations. An employer might round your working time to the nearest minute, six minutes, quarter-hour, or other amount. Your employer might round your hours up or down. Since time clock rules for hourly employees require that California employers pay for all working time, is hour rounding legal? Rounding hours worked in CA can be legal, but it depends on the details of your situation. In AHMC Healthcare, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeals decided that an employer’s pay policy that rounded hours worked to the closest quarter-hour were legal since: The policy was neutral on its face; The policy was neutrally applied; and The policy didn’t result in systematic undercompensation of employees. This means that if a rounding policy rounds up and down, is not applied to only reduce employee hours, and doesn’t result in constant undercompensation, it’s probably legal. Some California wage laws also closely follow federal law. Under federal law, an employer can round down working time lasting seven minutes or less. This can be disappointing, but the California Court of Appeals indicates that employees should at least break even in a rounding system if they work long enough. California Time Clock Laws Regarding Meal Breaks California law requires that your employer give you a 30-minute, unpaid meal break if you work more than five hours in a workday. The amount of meal breaks you must receive increases with the amount of hours you work. There are some exceptions to this rule. You can waive your meal break if you and your employer agree, and you don’t work more than six hours. You can also waive your second meal break in a 10 to 12-hour shift, as long as you and your employer agree. While there are some exceptions to the meal break rules, they generally apply to hourly and salaried employees alike. And if your employer doesn’t give you proper, uninterrupted meal breaks, you could have a right to premium pay. Contact Us Schedule your flat-rate consultation. What If My Employer Doesn’t Comply with the Time Clock Laws in California? If your employer denies you proper breaks or pays you according to an unlawful hour-rounding policy, you can file a wage-and-hour claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations. You have one year to file a complaint if your employer fails to supply you with your payroll records. You have three years to file a complaint if you don’t get paid for all your hours or you don’t receive proper rest and meal breaks. The time you have to file a complaint can pass quicker than you think. This is why you should contact an attorney as soon as you suspect your employer has violated your rights. Your attorney can meet your filing deadlines and handle your claim while you tend to your other obligations. Contact an Attorney to Claim What You’ve Earned Contrary to popular belief, you aren’t always at the mercy of your employer. Your employer needs to pay what they owe you and provide the rest times you deserve. At Ottinger Employment Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping wronged employees assert their rights. We have more than 20 years of experience, and we have helped thousands of employees. If you’re having trouble with your employer, we hope you’ll reach out. Contact us online or call us at 866-328-0486. Read More