Labor unions can have both positive and negative effects on the workplace. Certain states recognize that not every employee wants to be a part of a union, and have enacted laws protecting an employee's right to choose. These states are known as "right-to-work" states. A right-to-work, however, does not have an effect on non-competition clauses, which are generally used to protect a business from losing employees to its competition.
As of 2011, 22 states in the United States are "right-to-work" states. Many of these states are located in the southern and western areas of the country. Texas, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Dakota are a few of the right-to-work states. In a right-to-work state, the relevant employment laws give employees the choice as to whether they want to join a union or pay union dues. In right-to-work states, employees cannot be denied employment because they do not want to join a union that has organized at that workplace. According to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, employees in federal employment may not be forced to join a union but may need to pay union dues.
A non-competition agreement --- which may be integrated into a contract through a non-competition clause --- is often used in employment situations where the competition is fierce. The agreement restricts an employee's ability to work in that geographic region and in that market for a certain number of years if the employee leaves the company. The purpose is to protect sensitive information, such as secret formulas or product designs, from the competition.
Enforcement of a Non-Compete Agreement
To be enforceable, the non-compete agreement must be reasonable in light of the circumstances. According to MedLawPlus.com, the agreement must be limited in both scope and duration. The specifics depend on the employer, the market, the geographic location and other factors such as the amount of bargaining power the employee had when negotiating the contract. If the court finds the clause or agreement is reasonable, then it is enforceable.
Effect of Non-Compete Agreements in Right-to-Work States
Non-competition clauses are valid even in right-to-work states, provided nothing in the non-competition clause makes it a requirement for the employee to join a union or pay union dues. As described above, the right-to-work states protect employees from having to join a union or pay union dues. Generally, the law has no effect on competition or non-compete agreements. Employees in right-to-work states faced with a non-competition clause should speak to an employment attorney in their area for an analysis on how the law applies to their unique situation.
- National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation: Employees in Right to Work States
- National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation: Right to Work States
- Quint Careers: Dealing With Non-Compete Clauses and Agreements, Randall Hansen, Ph.D.
- MedLawPlus: How to Draft Confidentiality and Non-compete Agreements
The Right to Work in the State of Colorado
The Right to Work in the State of Colorado. ... The Right to Work vs. Non-compete. Labor unions can have both positive...
The Disadvantages of Right to Work States
Right-to-work states prohibit unions and employers ... when membership is outnumbered by non-members in the firm. As a result, right-to-work states have...
Are Noncompete Agreements Legal in New Jersey?
Yet they were still concerned with balancing an employer's right to protect his business with an employee's right to find work in...
How to Void a Non-compete Contract in Kentucky
Other state courts are unlikely to uphold or enforce a Kentucky non-compete contract. If you are concerned about a lawsuit, ... The...
The Legality of Non-Compete Agreements in Georgia
State laws on non-compete agreements vary ... The Right to Work vs. Non-compete. Non-Compete Agreements in Texas. Microsoft Non-Compete Agreement. Non-Compete Laws...
Non-Compete Agreements in Texas
Non-compete agreements are binding contracts generally entered into between an ... State laws on non-compete agreements vary ... The Right to Work...
The Definition of Workers Rights
In a "right to work" state, workers decide whether or not they want to join or support a union. ... Definition of...