Should Interns Be Forced to Sign Non-Compete Agreements?
It seems like all sorts of companies are taking steps to protect themselves from the actions of their employees. This is typically done through a document called a non-compete agreement. These agreements help eliminate competition by limiting where an employee can work should they decide to leave the company.
In this job market, this can be frustrating for even a professional with decades of experience, let alone an intern simply looking to gain work experience while in college. However, many companies are now making interns sign non-compete agreements, which defeats the purpose of an internship in the first place.
An internship is supposed to be designed to help people develop skills and experience that will help them in their future careers. How does an internship serve this purpose if the person’s career options are even more limited after serving the internship? It would seem as though accepting the internship will actually hurt them, not help them. All they are essentially getting is a summer job, and not even a good one.
In most cases, non-compete agreements are not enforceable in court because they are way too limiting. They only serve to help the employer and do nothing to help the employee. In fact, in many cases, the employee must move outside the city or work in a totally different industry altogether in order to abide by the agreement’s restrictions. Many companies take advantage of their interns’ youth and inexperience. They know that the interns will not read the entire non-compete agreement. After all, these interns are happy to be getting the experience. Once the intern leaves the company and suddenly becomes aware of their job restrictions, they will not fight it due to a lack of funds and knowledge.
States Are Taking Action
The good news is that states are taking steps to limit or ban non-compete agreements altogether. Florida Senator Marco Rubio is currently taking steps to ban these agreements for interns and other hourly employees. Massachusetts prohibits them for low-wage and hourly employees. Illinois has also banned them for workers who make low wages. States like California, North Dakota and Oklahoma ban many of these agreements. Other states are taking action, as there are many similar bills in progress.
Since these companies often work directly with colleges and universities so that the interns can get academic credit for their work, these schools should make it a point to ask these companies about their requirements, such as non-competes. Requiring a non-compete is not in an intern’s best interest and should not be allowed.
Learn More About Non-Compete Agreements
Non-compete agreements are in place to protect employers. Employees gain little by limiting their employment prospects in an already challenging job market. Intern and other low-level employees should think carefully about the repercussions of signing such an agreement.
If you are an employee who has been asked to sign an employment agreement, seek help from Orlando non-compete agreement lawyer B.F. Godfrey from Godfrey Legal. He can review the document and ensure that your interests are protected. To get started, call (407) 890-0023 or fill out the online form.