For many Florida companies, having trade secrets is one way of ensuring that they are able to offer something different than their competition. However, these secrets often have to be told to employees, which could lead to potential risk of those secrets being exposed. As a result, some companies may have workers sign non-compete agreements. In some situations though, those agreements may seem out of place.
In a previous article posted on Aug. 15, 2014, ("Sandwich franchise sued for wage and hour violations"), it was reported that the Jimmy John's franchise was under scrutiny due to wage violations. That same franchise is once again being criticized for reportedly having their employees sign non-compete agreements. Many individuals find this practice suspect as the majority of workers with the company are low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers.
Those same individuals who were filing the wage suit also claim that the agreements are "oppressive" because they reduce the number of potential job opportunities. Individuals who sign the document are under a binding agreement not to work for a competitor of Jimmy John's for two years after the end of their employment. A representative for Jimmy John's did not wish to comment on the situation.
Non-compete agreements may have their purpose for individuals who are in higher-up positions in companies. However, individuals who are working low-wage positions may be considerably more negatively affected if they must sign such an agreement and then are unable to find employment elsewhere if needed. Because such agreements often come with their own unique terms, Florida workers who feel that such an agreement has negatively affected their situation may wish to learn whether action may be taken to change their circumstances.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Jimmy John's Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign 'Oppressive' Noncompete Agreements", Dave Jamieson, Oct. 13, 2014