<![CDATA[Break Non-Compete Agreements - Ron Hummer's Journal]]>Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:30:52 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[A Disturbing Conclusion about non-compete agreements]]>Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:21:27 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/a-disturbing-conclusion-about-non-compete-agreements I think it’s time to use this blog to lay all my cards on the table.  I’ve said a lot of things about non-compete agreements but I think in many ways, I’ve reached a conclusion and since this could be a future post that people will read, then I think it’s important enough to get this off my chest regarding the idea that a camp counselor who was a teenager was asked to sign a non-compete agreement in Massachusetts.    

        You can read the post regarding my books in my blog to see what a non-compete agreement is but in one sentence it’s that I’m an at will employee and I can be fired at anytime for any reason and I can’t work in my industry for two years. 

        To begin with, I met a lot of people and talked to them about non-compete agreements and here are some of the answers that I get.   

         Occupy Wall Street - I met a union rep that was part of this group.  He said that every state has a right to work state and that that would override a non-compete agreement.  In fact, I would tell you that he wasn’t even interested in talking to me about this.  He said that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that he doubted that non-compete agreements even existed.   This coming from a group that goes around protesting about greed in corporate America when the truth is that they’re only concerned about the employees that are part of their union.  

          Other people say to me that oh, a judge would throw this out of court.  We won’t be deprived of a living even though it will cost you over $10,000 in legal fees to go to court.  

           Then you have other people who say that I can go work for a competitor and nothing will stop me even though the company will ask their lawyer what they think about the non-compete agreement and the lawyer will say don’t hire this person because we can get sued also.  Of course, the employer can also take out an injunction to stop you from working there. 

            But here is the most popular answer that I get when I talk about non-compete agreements and the problems that exist for employees.   “I don’t believe you because I have never seen a news report on the news such as The Today Show, GMA, CBS News, Fox or CNN.  If what you’re saying is true, then why aren’t they reporting this.   

            So, lets go back to the teenager in Boston who is working for a summer camp.  Let’s go back to the fact that she is probably under the age of 18 years old and has been asked to sign a legal document.  Yet the only story is the link below that appeared in the Boston Globe.  My question is where is the outrage?   How come this isn’t on any news programs?  

            I think I know the answer.   You want to know what it is?  I think that the reason that this story isn’t on the news is because the newscasters feel that this isn’t important enough to talk about.   

            Now before you start disputing this, let’s look at evidence where non-compete agreements are concerned.  

  • Hairdressers, dog and cat groomers, maids, people who work at sandwich shops such as Subway, and a camp counselor are on a non-compete agreement.  All true.  Yet why isn’t this on any of the news programs? 

  • A story in the Wall Street Journal talked about Entrepreneurs who are limited in where they can start a business due to a non-compete agreement.  This was worth a two minute segment on Fox and CBS.   It was mentioned at the end of the Fox segment that this wasn’t fair to lower level employees.  Fox shut down the segment right after that statement.  
  • Massachusetts has been in a battle for over 10 years since Mitt Romney left office to make non-compete agreements illegal.  Not a word on the news programs. 

  • In Georgia in 2010, historic legislation was passed called Amendment One where judges could no longer throw non-compete agreements out of court.   Like other states, they must say that the agreement must be fair to both parties.  So if it’s a two year non-compete agreement where the at will employee gets fired, the judge can lower it to a year.   This is all supported by the government of Georgia.  Not a word on the news shows. 

  • Legislation - In Maryland and New Jersey, they started legislation that stated that if an employee is fired and forced to collect unemployment benefits, then their non-compete agreement would be invalid.  This is only going forward, not retroactive because according to state law, you cannot invalidate a signed contract since that would be unconstitutional.  Obnoxious ambulance-chasing non-compete lawyers argued that there is too much at stake for their clients.    So the answer is to let people stay on unemployment and take longer to look for jobs that they are unqualified for and collect unemployment for a longer period of time even though they can work but can’t due to their non-compete agreement.  Again, Chris Christie won’t discuss this.  Again, no news on the morning shows. 

  • Halifax Holdings - This company, under Warren Stephens, bought 16 editions of the New York Times and told all the reporters that they had to sign a non-compete agreement that stated that they could be fired at any time for any reason and would not be able to work at a newspaper, a magazine, a radio station, or a television station where Halifax had an office.  In addition, it stated that the story would be under the ownership of Halifax after the reporter was fired.  Again, no story on any of the news programs as to what the ramifications of what this does to Journalism.  

   Do I need to continue?  Sure, someone once told me that reporters are reluctant to write about this because they can’t get employees to come forward about abuse in the workplace such as quotas.  Baloney.  Any of these shows can get a non-compete lawyer and an employment on their show and address this and everything I have said here.  Yet that isn’t being done?  Why.  Because the story is not important enough for them to cover.   Yes, these shows have more important stories to cover than this.  

     Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe this isn’t such a big deal.  If you’re a lower level employee who makes less than $50,000 a year, then you should be sued and have the option of finding $10,000 to spend on legal fees.  

       I mean, so what if hairdressers, dog groomers, cat groomers, maids, people who work in sandwich shops such as Subway, and of course, the teenager who works at the summer camp.  So what if she is under 18 years of age and signed a legal document that states that she can be sued for breaking it by working at another summer camp.  Shame on the parents.  It’s their problem.   The simple answer is don’t sign this even if you are told that you will be fired if you don’t sign it.  

         Yes, the real answer is that there are more important stories on the Today Show, GMA, CBS News, Fox, and CNN.  No need to discuss this.  It’s not important enough.  

          Let’s face it, Erin Andrews left ESPN to go to Fox.  No problem there.  Katie Couric left the Today Show to go to CBS, then ABC.  No problem there.  Their contracts expired.  Yet Rene Garcia and Arnold Arredondo signed a non-compete agreement with Reliable Fire in 1997 that stated that they can be fired at any time for any reason and they can’t start their own business where Reliable Fire has an office.  In 2012, they lost a lawsuit regarding this.  15 years later because non-compete agreements don’t expire unless you’re Erin Andrews and Katie Couric.  

          So, when you turn on the news in the morning to watch The Today Show, GMA, CBS News, Fox and Friends, CNN, or even CNBC, you can think about all this and see all the stories that are on these shows and see that they are more important than what I’ve mentioned to you today.  

Ron Hummer  





<![CDATA[Will Chris Christie Thank People for Voting For Him]]>Thu, 07 Nov 2013 02:14:17 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/will-chris-christie-thank-people-for-voting-for-him        Last night Chris Christie won another term as Governor of New Jersey.  So, now that he is governor again, how will he thank the people of New Jersey for voting for him?  

         He has a good opportunity to thank the people of New Jersey for voting for him, especially employees.  All he needs to do is to go to the state assembly people and state senators and ask that they vote for bill A3970 so he can pass it into law.  

          What is bill A3970?  It’s a bill that fights non-compete agreements.  The bill states that if someone is fired from their job and forced to collect unemployment benefits, then their non-compete agreement will be invalid.  

           This is an important bill for people who have to consider signing a non-compete agreement because the agreement usually states that an employee is at will and can be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work for a competitor or a company that has a competing product for up to two years in many cases.  Considering the fact that Chris Christie told people who were unemployed that they would have to sign into a database in order to prove that they were looking for a job, it seems that this bill would be relevant to the argument that people who are fired from their job should be able to work where ever they want instead of collecting unemployment.  

               Non-compete lawyers have argued that the court is the only way to settle this and the government should not interfere.    Of course, what they don’t tell you is that it costs over $10,000 in legal fees and there is a very good chance that you will lose because you signed the non-compete agreement.   Judges in New Jersey won’t rule in the employees favor just because they’re unemployed. 

              These same lawyers also claim that the law won’t work because it will cause employers not to pay unemployment benefits, thus making long lines at the unemployment agency until a decision is made.  The law can’t pass because there is a lot at steak to the employer because employees could steal information on their way out and get another job even though it’s highly unlikely for a company to hire someone just because they stole information. 

                Considering the fact that non-compete agreements are the norm in every state except California - which is illegal - this is an important bill for the state of New Jersey considering the fact that employees from all walks of life are on non-compete agreements.  This includes sales people, account managers, and IT people from large corporations to hairdressers, dog and cat groomers, maids, and people who work at Subway.  

                See the clip below of a manager of Subway in Michigan who was fired from her job for being sick.  When she was able to work, she wanted to work in another sandwich shop but Subway contacted her and told her that she could not work in a sandwich shop within 100 miles of Subway because she signed a non-compete agreement.  

                 It’s time to find out where Chris Christie stands on Bill 3970a.  Will he thank the employees of New Jersey for voting for him by moving this bill along and sign it into law or will he veto the bill when it comes to his desk, slapping people in the face who voted for him?  

                 Considering the fact that Chris Christie is considering running for President, it’s a chance for him to let the people of New Jersey know how he really feels about them.  It may answer questions about why he should be running for President as well since this is about jobs and how he will deal with it.    

Rick Holman 


<![CDATA[False Report ]]>Sun, 01 Sep 2013 00:44:21 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/false-report      I thought that we were at an end when it came to reports on non-compete agreements.  Instead, we get another report that is not only false but insulting to people who are on non-compete agreements. 

      The culprit: CBS.   Considering the fact that journalists are hit by these non-compete agreements, you would think that CBS would want to get it right for all the problems that this creates for their industry. 

       First, let’s talk about what is wrong with this report.  I don’t understand why both Fox and CBS keep saying that a non-compete is six months.   It would be great if it were true but why would the state of Massachusetts be fighting to say that non-compete agreements should be no longer than six months.   The reason: because a standard non-compete agreement is two years.  If you’re going to talk about non-compete agreements, then tell your audience that the standard is two years.  It might be nice if you would say that a judge in Indiana recently said that a non-compete agreement for five years is considered reasonable but that won’t happen. 

        Next, there was the point of negotiating your non-compete agreement.  I’ve seen this said before.  It’s usually said by lawyers who specialize in writing non-compete agreements.  Yes, in order to make themselves feel better, they will be the ones saying that the employee can negotiate their non-compete agreement.  The reality is that a company won’t do that.  Why should they?  From their perspective, they’re telling you that you have to sign this non-compete agreement or be terminated.  So you’re going to ask if you can change the terms when they told you this.  You don’t have leverage in this situation.   It’s nice to say that you can try but the fact is that the company can come back and say no, I want it signed the way it is.   So much for non-compete tips. 

        Of course, you can try your luck at seeing if the employee gets fired but then you can go to another company in the industry who will have the same type of non-compete agreement.  Should they negotiate with you.  Again, highly unlikely. 

         Yet what these journalists leave out is that everyone isn’t signing the non-compete agreement.  One reason is favoritism.  That’s discrimination.  Do you think that we would have one report that would say that everyone isn’t signing this agreement.  Well, it was in NJ Biz.  Not the discrimination part but it is discrimination since everyone isn’t signing the non-compete agreement.  The lawyers know this but it doesn’t matter since it won’t stand up in court. 

          As far as being honest with your potential new employer, sure you can tell them that you’re on a non-compete agreement.  Considering that most if all employment applications have the question are you on a non-compete agreement will deter you from lying about this, the answer is that you should be truthful if you want the job.  Of course, what will probably happen is that the employer will ask to review your non-compete agreement.  Once that is done, the lawyer for the company will examine the non-compete agreement and advise the employer not to hire you because your company can take out an injunction to stop you from working there.  In addition, there is a clause in the non-compete agreement that states that your former employer can sue you for lost business.  Again, this has been in numerous articles and blogs for non-compete lawyers.   Nice research that CBS does for a story. 

           As far as going to court is concerned, this report left out that the employee will pay over $10,000 in legal fees if they want to fight it.  It’s more than likely that if it went to court, the judge will probably rule that two years seems unreasonable, I’ll make it a year, unless you live in Indiana, since five years is considered reasonable.  

           Oh, about this thing of what happens when you sign a non-compete agreement.  Here is the truth.  You’re screwed.  Your stuck with it and that’s it.  Legislation from the government will not save you.  For example, there is legislation in Maryland and New Jersey that states that if you’re fired from your employer and forced to collect unemployment benefits, then you’re non-compete agreement would be invalid.  That would be going forward not backward.  The reason: because according to state law, you can’t break a signed contract because that would be considered unconstitutional.  

           You would think that CBS would be concerned about getting this right, especially after new reporters who are brothers and sisters who are journalists at Halifax holdings are stuck with a two year non-compete agreement that states that they can be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work for a newspaper, a magazine, a radio station, or a TV station where Halifax has an office.  You would think that CBS would be concerned that their fellow journalists who are getting screwed by this would be angry enough to give a report that would show how bad a non-compete agreement would be especially after a journalist group said that non-compete agreements would be bad for the industry since it would create ownership of a story.  Obviously, that isn’t the case when CBS did this report. 

            I guess it’s good that CBS is blacked out from my cable system and others in different parts of the country.  Most people didn’t have to see this report and that’s a good thing.  It’s no wonder that CBS is on the low end of the ratings behind ABC & NBC.   In any case, I won’t help CBS and set up a link to their false report.  

Rick Holman 


<![CDATA[My Thoughts On Bullying On Goodreads]]>Thu, 29 Aug 2013 02:49:02 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/my-thoughts-on-bullying-on-goodreads      When it comes to this blog, I usually speak out and there are times when I am very angry about the things that I say.  So tonight, it seems that I’m going down that path again.  

       I received an e-mail the other night.  I’m not going to say who it was from.  This person alerted me to the fact that there has been some bullying going on on Goodreads and Amazon.   I didn’t know who this person was but later on, I found out that this person took their information off Goodreads and the Amazon site mentions that there are people and trolls who are deliberately making false and hideous reviews on this person’s book.  The reviews are false because they're not reading the book. 

       Then I went on Google and started reading more of this in Salon.Com and The Huffington Post.  It seems that a woman was driven off of Goodreads in the same fashion.  The story was that she was unhappy with a review and responded to that person.  Evidently, she was bashed with hideous remarks from lots of people after that.  One of the remarks was “you should be raped in prison.” 

        I feel disgusted at the sight of this, much less writing it.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  Part of me shouldn’t be surprised.  This is the kind of stuff that has happened on Twitter.  I’m sure people remember when Josh Thole was on and there were people who had nothing better to do with their lives but go on and bash him, saying things like “I hope you die.”  

        It’s hard to react to people who cross boundaries like this in order to say these hideous things.  I like using the word hideous because that’s what it is though.  It’s the kind of thing that is said and as a result, someone like Josh Thole leaves Twitter.   The other people on Twitter are disappointed because they lost the opportunity to communicate with him, which I’m sure included many Mets fans.  

        When this happens, it spoils it for other people as well.  It shouldn’t have to be like this.  I like Twitter.  There are a lot of good people on Twitter.  The other night, I posted a review from one of John Sanford’s books and his son responded to me, thanking me for posting it but asking me why it took a major paper like the Washington Post so long to post the review.  I enjoyed that.   That’s the fun of being on Twitter yet when we have people like the one who chased Josh Thole off Twitter, then it spoils it for others who say “why should I be on Twitter?  There are so many lunatics on there.  Look at what happened to Josh Thole.”

         Now Goodreads is getting this kind of reputation from a group of people who are nothing more than lunatics.  It makes me furious.  Why?  I like Goodreads.  It’s a great community.  I joined it not because I want to meet more people online and ask them to read my books.  I joined it because I liked the idea of being in a bookclub and communicating with other people about the books that we like or dislike.  They have a lot of groups were you can read along with other people, giving you the feeling that you’re in a club and you can give your responses on the book you're reading on the message board.  

          In addition, you can discover new authors that you never heard of.  For example, I’m in a Fantasy Group and two months ago, we read Monster Hunt International.  I wanted to join this group because I wanted to find a great book to read in this category and I have a hard time finding one based on the book reviews.  I would say that I loved this book and not only gave it five stars but wish I could give it more.  And here is the best part.  The author of the book, Larry Correia, was an Indie author.  Yes, he put his book on the web and lots of people read it and today, more and more people are reading it.  

           As an Indie author, part me understands that a negative review is tough to take.  But let’s face it, you can’t please everyone.  Look at the reviews of authors who have big names.  I read Linwood Barclay’s book, Trust Your Eyes, and thought it was one of the best books I read this year.  Sure, there were a lot of people who agreed with me.  Then there were others that didn’t like the book at all.  

           A few months ago, I read a book by another Indie Author.   It was part of a group reading.  The book opened with a graphic rape scene.  I don’t like to quit on a book so I read a few more chapters and it only got worse.  So I stopped reading it.  I even called Amazon and they gave me my money back.  Yes, there were some other people who felt the same way but there were others who liked the book. 

           I’m not saying that I’m defending the author that wrote that book.  In fact, there are books on the mass market that have scenes like the one that I read which was much worse.  One book is Steig Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I didn’t like this book either. 

           Yes, authors are not always going to get the best reviews.  Logically, if someone is interested in reading your book, you may say that person will never read my book because it has negative reviews.  It may be a valid point but as a reader, I think you owe it to yourself to say that if you have an interest in reading a book and you’re stopping yourself because of some bad reviews, you may be missing out on a good book that you may like.  Just because someone else didn’t like the book doesn’t mean that you’ll feel the same way.   Who knows, you may discover the next indie author who will have a contract.  

           But when we have people who cross boundaries like the ones that I mentioned, it taints the whole process.  For example, if you look in USA Today and read the reviews in the book section, you will find that they come from GoodReads.  Now what will the editors of USA Today say if this continues.  Suddenly, those reviews won't be on USA Today anymore because of a few people like the ones that I mentioned. 
           The next thing you know, the authors that have big names will look at this and say "I don’t want to be part of this community either."  Could you blame them?  Other people in the community will feel the same way.  Who wants to hear that people are being abused because they wrote a book.  Who wants to hear that people are being abused if they have a disagreement with someone on Goodreads or Twitter and the next thing you know, the argument creates hideous remarks.  

            As a result, we’re back to Josh Thole and the authors on Goodreads who are being based and abused by people who have nothing better to do with their lives but criticize others with these hideous remarks.  

            We don’t need to hear this kind of thing anymore.  I think a lot of people are tired of it.  I know I am.  I think a lot of people would agree with me when I say that we would like the people who make these hideous remarks to do all of us a favor and shut up.  

Rick Holman 

<![CDATA[The Newroom - TV Review ]]>Sun, 18 Aug 2013 01:19:48 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/the-newroom-tv-reviewPicture
       I may be behind the times because I watched the first four episodes of The Newsroom, an HBO Series.  The reason: I don’t have an HBO account since I am a member of Netflix. 

        After watching the first four episodes, I have to say that I’m hooked on the show.  I will disagree with Rolling Stone’s review that this is an awful show. 

        Of course, in my case, the main reason is the plot.  Jeff Daniels, who plays Will McAvoy, is a newsman on the evening broadcast.  I guess you would consider him popular since he’s in a time slot for ratings that are given to Bill O”Reilly of Fox News and Rachel Maddow of CNBC.  

        In any case, Will McAvoy is a high ratings newsman who is out to take down the tea party and that isn’t going so well in the boardroom.  Jane Fonda, who is one of the women on the board, is unhappy, telling McAvoy’s producer that if he doesn’t tone his act down, he’ll find himself without a job.  The producer says go ahead and find someone to compete against him.  Fonda says it would be a problem since McAvoy is on a three year non-compete agreement.  

         Yes, this is what is attracting me to the show, along with the producer’s response, which is “that is a death sentence.”  Fonda said that those are the terms. 

          I like the way the non-compete agreement is used here because to me, it is realistic.  Here is a typical company crying that they don’t want any of their employees to work for a competitor and in the next breath, they’re taking advantage of their non-compete agreement to put a muzzle on McAvoy.  You can compare that to companies like mine who abuse people in the workplace verbally or set hard quotas as an excuse to fire someone so they can’t be in the industry anymore.

          As the story continued into the fourth episode, McAvoy makes Republicans look bad when people like Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, and Sarah Palin complain that the Democrats want to make laws to enforce gun control.  Yet McAvoy says that the opposite is true: that if anything, Barack Obama is not doing anything about making gun laws tougher.  Since this takes place in 2010, this changes during the Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting in Arizona. 

           As a result, Fonda is trying to discredit McAvoy by having him meet several woman, one who writes a derogatory article on him, followed by another woman who goes to that reporter to write another story.  

           If anything, I’d like to see how the plot goes, especially since McAvoy’s non-compete is involved.  It’s a great example of Corporate America abusing employees and taking advantage of their non-compete agreement power that they have.  It’s all the more reason for me to say the same thing over and over again.  

            The government needs to step in and regulate non-compete lawyers who draw up these unreasonable non-compete agreements.  Lower level employees like myself who are not exposed to confidential information or trade secrets need to be off a non-compete agreement.  There has to be a set of regulations by the government imposed on the non-compete lawyers in order to stop this abuse.  

             In New Jersey and Maryland, legislation is starting where if someone is fired from their job and forced to collect unemployment benefits, then their non-compete agreement would be invalid.  Every state across this country should be adopting this as well. 

             Massachusetts is trying to pass six month non-compete agreements.  Every state should follow with that as well.  

             It’s time to start taking this power away from companies and give employees back their rights so they don’t have to sacrifice their education, their finances, or their future to make these unreasonable non-compete agreements work.  

             As far as The Newsroom goes, I can’t buy the idea that McAvoy is a Republican since his message seems to work more as a Democrat.  In any case, I give the show four stars and I look forward to see how the plot goes with this show. 

Rick Holman 


<![CDATA[Non-Compete Agreements Perspective Part 3 - Abuse In The Workplace]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2013 01:51:57 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/non-compete-agreements-perspective-part-3-abuse-in-the-workplace       If I do have some employers and non-compete lawyers reading this, I would say that they would probably want to skip this post.  After all, there is another side to non-compete agreements and now that we’re getting into the employee side.  This is the time for non-compete lawyers and employers to go back in their bubble and think that nothing is wrong.  

        It seems that there is a conception that employers and non-compete lawyers have about employees.  It’s that an employee goes to work and learns new skills.  It costs the employer time and money for this and what do they get for their time.  At some point, the mean old employee leaves.  How dare they, especially after all the time and effort we put into getting them trained.  This is the reward we get.  

         Yes, believe it or not, this is the attitude of the employer.  In addition, your non-compete lawyer wants to take this further and say hey, the employee is getting specialized skills.  All the more reason to have everyone on a non-compete agreement. Yes, non-compete agreements for waiters and waitresses are coming.   

          Yet, here is the question that the employer and the non-compete lawyer can’t face.  Why do people want to leave?   Oh, that’s easy, according to them.  It’s money.  That greedy employee wants more money and why should we give he or she more money when they already have a job.  They should be thankful we even gave them a job in the first place.  I guess that’s why my employment lawyer said companies like mine have an attitude that they’re doing you a favor by giving you a job because that is your reward.  They don’t have to give you anything else after they fire you.  Not even a severance package.  

           Believe it or not, I would like to stay at my job if I could.  I’m sure thousands of people feel the same way.  No one likes to look for a job.   People can be loyal to their employer.  I was loyal to one employer for over 10 years.  People would stay as long as you reward them for their work and treat them with respect.  The problem is that employers don’t want to do that.  

           Yes, the truth is that there are lots of reasons why an employee would want to leave a company.  Most of the time, it doesn’t have to do with money.  Let’s take a look at some examples.  

           How about abuse in the workplace?   It takes place in so many forms.  Just imagine being on a non-compete agreement and putting up with an abusive boss and coworker.  In fact, my first book, 96 Rocks, is just that.  A story about an abusive boss and an abusive co-worker.  People have told me that those two characters - Herman Pearson and Tim Harrelson - made them cringe.  Well, my answer is I worked with two people that were like that and they made me cringe as well.  

           It doesn’t always have to be an abusive boss though.  How about a quota?  We know that it exists.  Look at the job openings and they scream the word quotas.  It’s frequent now more than ever.   Take a look at some of the information that I pulled regarding quotas from some job postings.  

Record of exceeding sales quotas
Track record of exceeding performance goals and/or quota
Fully responsible for generating revenue and achieving quotas.
Meet or exceed assigned sales objectives and monthly revenue quotas
Meet monthly/quarterly/annual sales quotas and other metrics
This is a quota carrying position with high expectations 
Proven record exceeding revenue quota targets

        Know which one I see all the time.  Quota carrying position.  What is that?  

        So, why are there quotas?  You never heard about them in the 80’s and 90’s.  Let’s face it, when you have a non-compete agreement, you can make a quota because if you fire someone, it’s not like they’re going to work for the competitor since the non-compete agreement takes care of that.  People would look for a job somewhere else in the industry if there was a quota and no non-compete agreement.  

        How does a quota work?  Let’s take a look at mine even though I did mention it at the beginning of my newest book, The Bachelor Party.  I have to get 10 sales a month.  If I don’t make it for a month, then I’m on probation.  From there, I have to get 40 in four months.  If I don’t, then I’m history.   Yes, my job, just like others in this country, is month to month.  All because the company knows they can do whatever they want because of the non-compete agreement.  

         There are no exceptions to this quota.  Doesn’t matter if I want to take a week off for a vacation.  It doesn’t matter if I make over 50 calls a day.  It doesn’t matter if I stay late every single night.   Those are the rules.  

          So there is one form of abuse.  Now, did you like my story about my manger making his remark when I ordered a Whiskey Sour in front of a group of my coworkers.  Just to remind you, he said “What are you, 50 years old and a woman.”   I didn’t have to take it personally.  There were lots of other remarks that he made to other people.  You would see that in 96 Rocks.  

           He got away with sexually harassing women for over 20 years.  One time, when a woman was leaving the company for a new job, he said “a lot of guys are going to miss your hot body.”  Yes, then there was the Playboy magazine in the office.  “I love things of beauty.”  When a woman leaves the office.  “Did you see the legs on her?” 

           Yes, this is very upsetting to women.  Check out Fit To Print, the biography of AM Rosenthal.  Plenty of abuse in that book.  “You may not like me now but you’ll learn to love me.”  Calling women kittens. 

            Here’s a pop question.  Who said I don’t get heart attacks, I give heart attacks?  Chainsaw Al.  Yes, Al Dunlap, former CEO of Sunbeam.  Then there was a mutual fund manager yelling at his assistant because she didn’t get his pizza order right.  As he said in the WSJ, I’m a passionate man.  

            Ah, memories.  I think the one thing that baffles me is that when they made these non-compete agreements over 15 years ago, did our state and local government even think about this before they threw me and thousands of people like me under the bus?  Or are we that naive when we say that abusive bosses don’t exist in the workplace anymore? 

            It’s certainly an excellent reason to leave.  Can’t work in the industry anymore due to the non-compete agreement.  People giving quotas like the one I have.  Might as well have a gun to your head.  I mean, if you’re unemployed, do you really want a job like mine?  

            None of this is illegal.  It happens.   The employers know that this is going on.  Guess what.  Their non-compete lawyers know that this is going on also.  You think they care.  No. It doesn’t matter.  The answer is the same.  If an employee isn’t happy with the situation, then he or she can go to court.  Of course, the legal fees are over $10,000 and we know the answer to this one already.  

            Is it any wonder when I get so angry about non-compete agreements.  Can you blame me?  Not having a right to work in the industry or your chosen profession.  Here I am screaming for the government to regulate this.  

            Here’s a great scene from my book 96 Rocks.  This is one where my wife was abused like this by her boss.  

              Herman picked up the phone as Tim left the room, said “Joan, I need to speak with you. Now.” 

              Joan walked inside as Tim left, shutting the door behind her.  Herman picked up the 10 page sales report and held it up.  “What’s wrong with this report?” 

              “I wanted to check it over again.” 

              “You checked it over yesterday,” Herman growled.  “I’ll ask you again.  What’s wrong with this report?” 

              “I don’t know.” 

              “Where is the logo?” 

              “I didn’t think you needed...”  

              “I told you,” Herman broke in, “that I want the logo on the station for every document that I use especially during a sales meeting.”  His voice grew louder.  “What else is wrong with this report?” 

                 “I don’t know.” 

                 “Where is the date?” 

                 “I thought it was at the top.” 

                 “How do I know that you didn’t print the figures from last month.  For all I know, you could have printed the wrong report.” 

                 “I’ll check again.”  

                 “You should have checked more carefully.  What else is wrong with this report?”

                 “I don’t know.” 

                 “You misspelled a name.  Page 5.  It’s Alix with an I.  Not an E.   

‘                 “I’ll fix it.” 

                 “I thought you did this kind of work before.” 

                 She bit her lower lip.  “I have.” 

                 “Doesn’t seem that way to me.  Correct this report and get it back to me right away.  And since we’re having a sales meeting today, I want you to order some pizza.” 


                 “Where is your pad?” 

                 “On my desk.” 

                Herman rolled his eyes, looked up at the yellow ceiling.  “I’ve told you countless times to bring your pad in here whenever you come in here.”  He made two fists, threw them in the air and shook them.  “Go out and get it and come back in and I’ll give you the order for the pizza.” 

                 “Fine.”  She turned and left the room. 

               Ah, what the hell.  Let’s do one more scene from my book 96 Rocks just for that mutual fund manager. 

              “Christ.  Let’s have some pizza.” Herman stood up, opened the first box, saw that the pizza was covered in mushrooms.  Gritting his teeth, he opened the second box, saw that was plain and half sausage.  He shook his head, opened the third box, saw that it was plain.  He slammed his fist on the table, then stormed out of the conference room and headed over to Joan’s desk.  

                “I just opened up three boxes of pizza and you know what I found,” he screamed. 

                “No,” she said nervously.  

                “No pizza with anchovies and pepperonis.”  

                 “I told them over the phone to put that on one of the pies.” 

                 “Show me your pad with the order I gave you,” Herman shouted.  

                Joan opened her pad, her hands shook.  She showed him the page with the order.  

                 “You read it to them exactly as you have it there,” he yelled. 

                 “Yes, I did,” she replied, trying to hold back the tears in her eyes. 

                 “Did you have them read it back to you.” 

                 “Yes, I did.”

                 “How many times?” 


                 “Next time, have them read it back twice.  No three times.  Three times.  Do you understand?”  he screamed.

                     “I’ll call them…” 

                     “Why,” Herman interrupted, “so they can take another half an hour to bring me the pizza that should have been here the first time.” 

                     “I’m sorry,” 

                     “Maybe you not concentrating on your work hard enough.”

                     “I’m doing the best I can.” 

                     “I’m doing the best I can,” he mimicked.  “That’s all I ever hear.  I’m surrounded by incompetence.”  He glared at her, his upper lip twisted.  “You better get your act together fast or you’ll wind up cleaning toilets with everyone else in this company.”  

                      She clenched her lips together, continuing to hold back her tears.  

                      Herman turned and went back into the conference room. 

             Yes, employees have plenty of reasons to leave their employer.  Many times, it isn’t always about money.  It could be about having your sales territory diminished.  it could be about having your commission lowered.  Not getting that promotion you deserved.  And God forbid, you should get a raise more than once in eight years.  

              Like I said, everything isn’t cut and dry.  

Rick Holman 

<![CDATA[Non-Compete Agreements Perspective Part 2 - Stealing Information ]]>Wed, 07 Aug 2013 01:50:23 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/non-compete-agreements-perspective-part-2-stealing-information  
      Some people may say  I would think you would want to avoid this topic since this is one of the reasons that non-compete agreements exist.  My feeling is that I have no problem talking about this because like the other topics that I’ll write about, this is not cut and dry.   I will keep this separate from the trade secrets questions since that will follow in the next post. 

       Before there were non-compete agreements where employees were told that they would be fired and not able to work in the industry for two years, I guess you could say that there were a lot of lawsuits when people stole information from their employers.  Here is one case that I knew of. 

        There were two dentists.  They were partners for many years and one of them decided to go on his own.  The other dentist said it was okay but what he didn’t know at the time was that his partner was rifling through his filing cabinet and photocopying all the clients names and addresses.  Once he started his own practice, he sent postcards to all the clients letting him know where his office is.  His partner found out and asked him how he could steal the client names.  His answer was they were my clients also.  

         I don’t know the result of the lawsuit but unfortunately, there were many others like this and it still goes on today.   My hairdresser told me that when she owned her own business, she had an employee that went through her appointment book and took the names and addresses of all the clients so she could call them because she was starting her own business.  She basically said the same thing the dentist said and got fired.  Evidently, she had worked at other hair salons and did the same thing.  

         Of course, as a result of this, we have hairdressers who are on a non-compete agreement that states that they can be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work in a salon that has a radius of 10-50 miles.  I knew of a hairdresser who had 50 miles on hers.  

         I think the bigger question on the hairdresser is let’s say she contacted some of her clients.  Would they all follow her, especially if they knew that she stole the names from her former boss?  I know that I would ask her how she got my number since I would call the salon if I wanted to cancel my appointment.  It’s hard for me to believe that the clients would not be outraged if they knew that she was doing this but would some of them say I don’t care, I don’t trust anyone else to cut my hair even though that person doesn’t seem trustworthy. 

         I put a post at the bottom of this regarding a salesman who worked at a cleaning supply company.  When he went to work for a competitor, he stole a computer and some other valuable information.  His non-compete was three years and he was obviously sued for violating his non-compete agreement as well as stealing the computer and other information. 

         Maybe it’s me but I’ve never had the temptation of stealing information when I went to a competitor before there were non-compete agreements.  I would think that it is a lack of respect for your new employer.  In addition, I can picture him looking at me after I showed him information that I stole and yelling at me saying I didn’t ask you to steal information.  What, do you think that impresses me?  What kind of person do you think I am?  I have ethics.  You know what.  I think I made a mistake in hiring you.  You’re fired.  

          Yes, I would never think twice about stealing information because that’s how I think the conversation would go.  In addition, I never stole anything in my life and my parents never felt they had the need to let me know that it’s wrong to steal.  Maybe other people feel differently and they think it’s okay since we do have people who do go to jail for this.  

            Sure, on the other hand, I knew someone who did in fact steal files and information and brought them to his new employer.  His employer didn’t seem to mind but I can tell you that that person didn’t last more than six months at that job.  That employer has non-compete agreements.  

           So, if you think I have sympathy for companies who cry foul when someone steals from them, I don’t because of that reason.  If you’re not going to do what most managers do in that situation and fire the employee, then you deserve what you get if it’s done to you.  If you did that, then maybe we wouldn’t have non-compete agreements.  

            At the same time, I think it’s safe to say that most people do not steal information and feel the same way about their employers that I do.  That’s why it offends me when I read an article about a non-compete lawyer that says what if an employee is on the verge of being fired and decides to steal information before he goes.  Yes, what if that were to happen?  Yes, do we think so little of managers and companies that they would interview someone, much less hire them just because they stole information.  Maybe my answer would be that that lawyer doesn’t have a clue as to what goes on in a company and it’s a reason not to have non-compete agreements.  

            I think that a lot of this is common sense.  Yes, I feel that there are employees that are honest like me and would never even think of taking information with them since it doesn’t belong to them.  Are there people who would do this?  I would be naive if I said no.  

            Unfortunately, there are a lot of dishonest people in the world.  People like Bernie Madoff.  Yes, people who are so selfish that they only think of themselves when they steal information that doesn’t belong to them.  So it’s with a great deal of anger that I say that thousands of people across this country are paying for that because today there are non-compete agreements and employers and non-compete lawyers feel that it’s justified.  

            Maybe it’s also important to say that stealing is a part of life and yes, we have to deal with it, but what are the solutions.   I knew of a landlord who owned an apartment and rented it out to someone.  That person decided after six months not to pay rent anymore.  It took the landlord over a year to evict him.  He didn’t get the money back.  It’s a common problem today with a lot of people with landlords and people who rent apartments.  As a result, rents go up and the people who want the rent the apartment suffer because of this.  So yes, people like me pay for the problems that other dishonest people create when they do this. 

              Is the solution in this case to start non-compete agreements that say that someone can be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work in the industry for two years or within a 10-50 mile radius.  Is it right to put the burden of this on the employee so he or she can sacrifice their education, their finances, and their future just to make these non-compete agreements work.  For the moment, that’s what thousands of people like me are doing because maybe 10% of the population stole information that didn’t belong to them.  

Rick Holman 



<![CDATA[Non-Compete Agreements: Part 1 - A Career Killer ]]>Tue, 06 Aug 2013 02:11:24 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/non-compete-agreements-part-1-a-career-killer     One time when I was on Twitter, a law student told me that when a contract is drafted, there is a reward for both parties.   In the case of a non-compete agreement, that reward is given to people who are privy to information.  For example, if you work in a large corporation like Nike and you’re an analyst and know information about the next show, Nike could reward you by giving you an agreement that states that you’re an at Will employee and can be fired at any time for any reason but we will give you two years of your salary if this does happen.  Obviously, this is a reasonable agreement between both parties since both parties are being rewarded.  

       For other employees who are not privy to information, the agreement is different.  It usually states that you’re an at Will employee and you can be fired at any time for any reason and you can’t work for a company that has a competing product for two years or within a 10-50 mile radius of your former employer.   

       Three employment lawyers pointed out to me that companies like yours feel that they are doing you a favor by giving you a job because that is the only reward for this contract.  They don’t have to give you anything else; not even a severance package.  

       Why is two years so important?  As the employment lawyers told me, the strategy is to keep you out of a job in the industry so you can’t get back into it.  By doing this, you will lose knowledge and skills.   As a result, your career is destroyed.  

       As I said earlier, I was told that I would be terminated if I didn’t sign this contract.  That is duress.  In addition, everyone isn’t signing the contract and one reason is favoritism.  That is discrimination.  Both are the basis to make this contract null and void but in the world of non-compete lawyers and companies, this still stands up in court.  

       In my case, my contract could be reasonable if the non-compete lawyer would list the major competitors on my contract.  That doesn’t happen in a non-compete agreement because the lawyers and the company feel that that the competitors are changing all the time.  So the standard is that you may not be able to work in the industry even if your competitor has just one product.   

       As a result, this contract is not about Coke and Pepsi, it’s about Coke and bottled water.  If you drink bottled water instead of Coke, then Coke is losing money.  If you drink beer instead of Pepsi, then Pepsi is losing money.  It’s no different if a disc jockey wants to leave a rock and roll station to work at a jazz station.  If they’re in the same area, he or she can be sued under the non-compete agreement.  

       What does this mean to the employee.  For a hairdresser who could be making less than $50,000 a year, that person has to be away from clients that they worked with.  As a result, it will be harder for that person to get a job because that person doesn’t have any clients.  If they get a job at another hair salon, then they have to start all over again, losing even more money. 

        For an account manager who could be making $30,000 a year, that person will have to start all over again in another industry, maybe starting again at an entry level position.     

        In my case, I have to apply for jobs that I am unqualified for, losing a significant amount of my salary, which could be anywhere from $10 - $15,000 a year.  Like other employees, I would be starting over again in an industry that is unfamiliar to me, putting me in a position where I could lose that job.  

        If you look at my industry for example, there are several companies that have different products.  I could be in a position where I can sell another product that doesn’t compete with my company.  Unfortunately, other companies do have at least one product that competes with my company and that would eliminate me from getting that job.  As my employment lawyer told me, all my company needs is a legal argument.  It doesn’t matter how weak the argument is.  It’s still an argument and they can take out an injunction to stop me from working in that company and sue that same company for any lost business. 

        Of course, once a company in the industry sees my non-compete agreement, their lawyer will advise them not to hire me.  I can challenge it if I’m fired but it would cost me $10,000.   There is no guarantee that I would win since I signed this agreement.  The judge can rule two years seems unreasonable. I’ll make it a year. 

          As far as the standards are concerned, you can listen to the podcast below regarding how Georgia had to justify their new law, Amendment 1.  They state in this podcast that they can’t afford to have employees contact any of the clients.  Remember that everyone is supposed to sign this agreement, including the receptionist.  During this podcast, you will hear that lawyers are exempt from non-compete agreements.

         Now, is two years a reasonable amount of time for a non-compete agreement for the employee?  That seems to have changed in Indiana where a judge ruled that a five year non-compete agreement was considered reasonable.  

         When a disc jockey works for an FM station and is terminated, he is sued by his employer because he wanted to start his own podcast.  Was it fair to sue this disc jockey since he worked at an FM station but he started to work on a podcast that was only received on the Internet.  Is it reasonable to say that this disc jockey was competing with his station because their station can be picked up on a computer or the internet as well.  

          Another example is a group of cardiologists and their non-compete agreement.  They could be fined as much as $750,000 if they did not go beyond the 50 mile radius of their employer.  That is something to be concerned about since fines can be applied to any non-compete agreement.  

          How about the Warren Stephens contract?  This contract was written after he acquired 16 editions of the New York Times.  it said that a journalist can be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work for a media outlet for two years where Halifax has an office.  That means he or she can’t work for a newspaper, a magazine, a radio station, or a television station.   While Stephens backed down on this after the acquisition, he did say that new employees would have to be under this agreement.  As the article points out, this creates ownership of a story.  But the more important question is how much harm can a journalist do if he or she works at any of these outlets.  

            The reason I bring this up is because that is the foundation for a non-compete agreement.   It works based on the possibility that when an employee leaves or is fired from their employer, they will have an impact on them if they join the competitor.  Yet we really don’t know what this impact will be.  Again, let’s remember that this isn’t just about sales people, it’s about all the employees at a company.  If you need an example, ask yourself what impact Katie Couric had when she left NBC to go to CBS.  

             Yet today, we are making this non-compete agreement the law of the land.  It’s turning up in nearly every line of business.  We see it for radio stations, television stations, hairdressers, dog and cat groomers, and maid services.  This agreement is turning up in nearly every line of business because the feeling is that the business has the right to protect itself from employees like me.  As a result, employees are left with no rights since they can’t leave their company or chosen profession and have to accept a career of indentured servitude.  If they leave the industry, they will have to take a huge salary cut of anywhere from $10,000 - $15,000 depending on the job.  

             In the end, a non-compete lawyer will tell you that there is still no need to regulate this.  If you’re unhappy with this, you can challenge it in court.  Of course, that’s $10,000 in legal fees.    

              These are the problems that employees face when they are on a non-compete agreement.  Companies and lawyers feel that this is justified because employees have either stolen information or trade secrets.  So in the next post, I will talk about information being stolen and you can decide if this justifies employees being on a non-compete agreement.  

Rick Holman 






<![CDATA[Braquo - TV Review]]>Sun, 04 Aug 2013 01:45:39 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/braquo-movie-reviewPicture
I’ve never been a big fan of police corruption movies and TV shows  because I don’t like the idea that we should picture them that way.  I had tried reaching Joseph Wambaugh’s book The Glitter Dome but couldn’t get halfway through that.  I’m not a big fan of James Ellroy either.  

Since then, I have watched The Shield.  I thought Michael Chiklis was great but still, the show disturbed me.  I kept up with it until the end but didn’t think it was that great. 

I’m not sure how I feel about Braquo.  It may not be the best of the three but I don’t mind watching it as much since it takes place in France.  it doesn’t make me feel better that the show was written by a former cop named Oliver Marchal. 

The show opens when one of the cops, Max is questioning a man who gang raped a pregnant women and killed her.  He’s naked in the scene although you only see the back of his body from the back up.  He’s laughing during the questioning so Max stick a pen in his eye and he falls to the ground.  You never see the pen go into his eye. 

Max is brought into Internal Affairs for this and his boss, Eddy Caplan isn’t happy about this.  He and three other cops questioned a drug dealer after catching him at the end of an S&M scene.  

Once you get past that, the show focuses on Eddy and his four cops and how they want to make sure that Max gets freed from jail.  Unfortunately, Max commits suicide and his wife won’t get her pension because Max is disgraced because of false charges that the man that Max questioned had filed.  

Of course, the rest of the TV show focuses on Eddy and his partners in crime and corruption.  The characters keep the show going and it does have suspense. 

This show is a big hit in France.  I’d like to keep an aye on it.  I would give it three stars.  

Rick Holman 

<![CDATA[Shea Allen & Her Non-Compete Agreement]]>Fri, 02 Aug 2013 02:33:39 GMThttp://breaknon-competeagreements.weebly.com/ron-hummers-journal/shea-allen-her-non-compete-agreement         I started a column last week on Friday night on my blog.  The column was who should be on a non-compete agreement.  So tonight, I’m going to start a day earlier and ask a question that no one else is asking about Shea Allen.  Why is she on a non-compete agreement?

          I’ll start by reviewing the standards of the so-called non-compete agreement because this question is bothering me.  Does Shea Allen have any confidential information about her station just because she worked in the newsroom?  I’m gonna say no.  

          Now, I’m going to ask the second question.  Let’s say that there is no non-compete agreement and Shea goes to work for another TV station in Huntsville, Al.  Is she going to take any viewers and advertisers away from that station?  Maybe?  Do we really know?  Well, a lawyer who specializes in non-compete agreements will probably be screaming at me at this point and say Rick, we can’t take that chance because she may take one viewer or advertiser from that station.    Yes, that is the standard.  

           Okay, then here is my question.  What kind of impact did Katie Couric have when she left the Today Show and went to CBS?  Yes, I can hear the non-compete lawyer screaming back at me that that has nothing to do with this.  

            It has everything to do with this.  This is the problem about non-compete agreements.  No matter how you look at it, all of them are built on the same foundation.  If someone leaves a company to go to a competitor, then disaster will strike.  The problem though is that you can’t measure that unless that happens. That’s when the lawyers will start screaming that this is about trade secrets which in this case are viewers and possibly advertisers.    

           This is the problem about non-compete agreements.  The lawyers say that one size fits all but when we really look at the non-compete agreement in Ms. Allen’s case, I think we can see that it really doesn’t fit.  We’d like to say that it will fit but seriously folks, the point of a non-compete agreement is how much impact will someone have when they go to work for a competitor.  In Ms. Allen’s case, not enough impact that thousands of viewers will turn off the station and go to the station that Ms. Allen will work at.  As far as the advertisers are concerned, maybe you can make that argument about someone like Howard Stern.  Not Shea Allen.  

             This is what happens when something isn’t regulated by the government and the results of it.  What we have done here is that we trust the company and the non compete lawyer to do the right thing and just say that Shea Allen should be on a non-compete agreement.  We make the excuse that the trade secret in this case is viewers and advertisers but it seems very weak now that we look at it, doesn’t it? 

              The worst part is that we are allowing this piece of paper to deprive Ms. Allen of earning a living at another station in her area after she was fired from her station.  She went to school for this.  We’re at the very least forcing her to move all because she is on a non-compete agreement and the only reason she is on one is because there is a possible threat that she will take viewers and advertisers with her to another station.   Yes, it's okay to fire someone, give them a small severance package, and force them to move or collect unemployment benefits.  Since the government won't regulate non-compete agreements, then they obviously don't have a problem paying out the unemployment benefits even though Shea could get a job in her area.  

               Now think back to the contract Warren Stephens tried to put on journalists after he bought 16 editions of the New York Times.  The contract stated that the journalist could be fired at any time for any reason and can’t work at a newspaper, a magazine, a radio station, or a TV station where Halifax has offices.  Why is it so important to keep a journalist from working at a radio or a TV station or another publication?  Where is the impact?  How much harm will that cause Halifax Holdings?   Yet this is the standard for new journalists who go to work for Halifax Holdings.  

              This comes under the standard that a judge can blue pencil this agreement because the non-compete lawyer can make it as harsh as he or she wants.  Maybe the judge will just throw it out.  Or the judge will say that a five year non-compete agreement in Indiana is reasonable.  Yes, this is the game that is played with peoples lives who are trying to earn a living.  

              This is what happens when we make non-compete agreements the law of the land.  We think we can put anyone on this because of the possible harm that it will do and no one will ask why this is happening.   

              It’s sad because this has gone on for 15 years.  We don’t question it.  We just put someone on this because the company demands it because they have rights and the employee doesn't have rights. 

              In the end, the non-compete lawyer will say hey, if Ms. Allen has a problem with this, then she can take it to court.  No need to regulate it.  Of course, that same lawyer won’t say that it’s $10,000 and sure, maybe her employment lawyer can make a case for her.  There is no guarantee because she signed a legal document.  The judge can still rule either way.  

             Which brings us back to the bigger question.  Should Shea Allen be on a non-compete agreement?  Should journalists and TV reporters in local markets be put on a non-compete agreement?  You figure it out.  When you do, ask yourself when the time will come when the government will start regulating this.  

Rick Holman