How Noncompete Clauses Keep Workers Locked In

Restrictions once limited to executives are now spreading across the labor landscape — making it tougher for Americans to get a raise.

.. Employment lawyers say their use has exploded.
.. part of a “rigged” labor market in which employers “act to prevent the forces of competition.”
.. By giving companies huge power to dictate where and for whom their employees can work next, noncompetes take a person’s greatest professional assets — years of hard work and earned skills — and turn them into a liability.
.. “It’s one thing to have a bump in the road and be in between jobs for a little while; it’s another thing to be prevented from doing the only thing you know how to do,”
.. Noncompetes are but one factor atop a great mountain of challenges making it harder for employees to get ahead.
  • Globalization and automation have put American workers in competition with overseas labor and machines.
  • The rise of contract employment has made it harder to find a steady job. 
  • The decline of unions has made it tougher to negotiate.

But the move to tie workers down with noncompete agreements falls in line with the decades-long trend in which their mobility and bargaining power has steadily declined, and with it their share of company earnings.

.. Mr. Gonzalez started at a little over $10 an hour in a job he described as “pretty much shoveling dirt.” Nevertheless, he signed an employment contract that included a noncompete clause, enforceable for three years within 350 miles of Singley’s base in Columbia, Miss.

.. “It’s ridiculous — it’s slavery in the modern-day form.”

.. employers typically presented workers with noncompete contracts when the employees lacked negotiating leverage, on their first day at work, for instance.

.. Put it all together, and suddenly some of the main avenues for finding a better-paying job — taking a promotion with a competitor, being recruited by an old colleague — are cut off.

.. since few companies want to lose good workers or give out huge raises, these agreements are making their way down the economic ladder to people like hairstylists and sandwich makers, far removed from what is thought of as the knowledge economy.
..  Wagesemployment and entrepreneurship are all diminished when workers have little leverage to bargain with their employer or leave a job for a better opportunity.
.. California law prohibits noncompete clauses, contributing to the inveterate poaching with which the state’s technology industry was founded.
.. “It’s not just that it allows employees to leave their company for another job,” said Mark A. Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “It allows them to leave to start new companies.”
.. “If an employer can fire anybody for any reason,” he said, “employees also need to have the right to walk.”
.. Judge Murphy said, “Enforcement of the noncompete provision in the manner articulated” by TSG would effectively bar Mr. Bollinger “from seeking employment anywhere in North America in the only profession he has practiced since graduating high school.”

What Tech Employees Want

Lori Goler and Juliet de Baubigny on the secrets to finding and keeping the best workers

What we see a lot of is the importance of pride. They are looking for the sense of fulfillment—having an impact, being part of something that’s bigger than you are, learning. People really want to learn. The most important thing is actually playing to your strengths. So it’s the notion of doing not just something you’re good at, but something you love.

.. 21% of millennials are looking for another job.

.. So, as you look at investing in people, the days of hanging on to your great talent for a decade are largely over, or should be questioned. The question is, “What can I really invest and get out of that person for the time that they are with me?”

.. The other two big drivers, particularly for young people today, are compensation, also transparency. This is a values-based generation. They really want to understand the values of the company that they’re working for.

.. So, yes, maybe having the annual performance review. But most millennials value a weekly feedback, a monthly feedback, a quarterly feedback cycle.

.. We’re looking for builders. We’re looking for people who can look at any situation and think, “That works pretty well. I bet it can be even better, and I have a vision for how to make it better.”

.. I am intrigued by Los Angeles as a market. Austin. Berlin.

.. Companies that do not have diversity and inclusion policies will not be competitive.

.. My favorite question to ask is always, “On your very best day at work when you go home and you think, ‘I have the best job on the planet,’ what did you do that day?” Because I want to be sure that whatever job or role the person is coming into is something that has a lot of whatever that is in it.

How To Legally Own Another Person

Why were they banned? They were, simply, totally free. They were financially free, and secure, not because of their means but because of their wants. Ironically by being beggars, they had the equivalent of f*** you money, the one we can more easily get by being at the lowest rung than by joining the income dependent class.

.. Benedict’s instruction manual aims explicitly at removing any hint of freedom in the monks under the principles of: stabilitate sua et conversatione morum suorum et oboedientia — “stability, conversion of manners, and obedience”.

.. In short, every organization wants a certain number of people associated with it to be deprived of a certain share of their freedom. How do you own these people? First, by conditioning and psychological manipulation; second by tweaking them to have some skin in the game, forcing them to have something significant to lose if they were to disobey authority –something hard to do with gyrovague beggars who flouted they scorn of material possessions.

.. So employees exist because they have significant skin in the game –and the risk is shared with them, enough risk for it to be a deterrent and a penalty for acts of undependability, such as failing to show up on time. You are buying dependability.

..  By having been employees they signal a certain type of domestication.

.. Someone who has been employed for a while is giving you the evidence of submission

Evidence of submission is displayed by having gone through years of the ritual of depriving himself of his personal freedom for nine hours every day, punctual arrival at an office, denying himself his own schedule

.. If the company man is, sort of, gone, he has been replaced by the companies person, thanks to both an expansion of the gender and a generalization of the function. For the person is no longer owned by a company but by something worse: the idea that he needs to be employable.

.. The employable person is embedded in an industry, with fear of upsetting not just their employer, but other potential employers. [2]

.. an employable person is the one that you will never find in a history book because these people are designed to never leave their mark on the course of events. They are, by design, uninteresting to historians.

.. In a world in which products are increasingly made by subcontractors with increasing degrees of specialization, employees are even more needed than before for special tasks.

.. Multinational companies created the expat category, a sort of diplomat with a higher standard of living representing the firm far away and running its business there. A bank in New York sends a married employee with his family to a foreign location, say a tropical county with cheap labor, with perks and privileges such as country club membership, a driver, a nice company villa with a gardener, a yearly trip back home with the family in first class, and keep him there for a few years, enough to be addicted. He earns much more than the “locals”, in a hierarchy reminiscent of colonial days.

.. Because the further from headquarters an employee is located, the more autonomous his unit, the more you want him to be a slave so he does nothing strange on his own.

.. there was some people in a company who weren’t slaves.

.. One type is the salesperson whose resignation would cause the loss of business, and, what’s worse, he can benefit a competitor by take some of the firm’s client there.

.. The other one was the trader about whom only one thing mattered: the profits and losses, or P/L.

.. My days, nobody cursed in public except for gang members and those who wanted to signal that they were not slaves

.. So cursing today is a status symbol, just as oligarchs in Moscow wear blue jeans at special events to signal their power.

.. ironically the highest status, that of free-man, is usually indicated by voluntarily adopting the mores of the lowest class[5]

.. Consider that the English “manners” isn’t something that applies to the aristocracy; it is a middle class thing and the entire manners of the English are meant for the domestication of those who need to be domesticated.

..  Clearly, except for Putin, all the others need to calibrate every single statement to how it could be misinterpreted the least by the press.

.. In such a confrontation Putin looks and acts as a free citizen confronting slaves who need committees, approval, and of course feel like they have to fit their decisions to an immediate rating.

.. It is much easier to do business with the owner of the business than some employee who is likely to lose his job next year; likewise it is easier to trust the word an autocrat than a fragile elected official.

With ‘Gigs’ Instead of Jobs, Workers Bear New Burdens

You could imagine a world in which more workers become independent contractors voluntarily, trading the social insurance functions of traditional employers for higher pay and greater flexibility ..

.. The unemployment rate was above 7 percent for nearly half of the period, from the end of 2008 to late 2013. Employers had the upper hand. That suggests it’s more likely that employers were driving the shift to these alternate arrangements.

.. When people working as a team need extensive experience working together, it can be tricky to contract out the work. But when there are clear, simple measurements of how successful each person is, and a company can monitor it, the employer now has flexibility.

.. “New technologies may allow some things to be shipped out and standardized and easily monitored,” Mr. Katz said. “Call center workers can be at home. Independent truck drivers can be monitored for the efficiency of their routes. Monitoring makes contracting more feasible.”

.. But the same technologies that made it possible could be making employers more interested in building a work force of nonemployees. A weak job market has probably given them more ability to make it a reality.