Jewish World Review Nov. 30, 2000 / 3 Kislev, 5761
Those credit card "checks"; non-compete agreements
DEAR BRUCE: I have been a salesman for my company for four years. I work on a low salary plus good commission, resulting in my making more than a decent living. Last week our boss called all of us together (seven sales people) and presented us with a non-compete agreement, which he said we would have to sign. It would prevent us from selling in competition with his company for two years within 25 miles of our office. When we came here, we never had to sign anything like this. He says that unless we sign, we will be terminated. Can he do this? -- L.C., via e-mail
DEAR L.C.: You bet your life he can do it. You have the right to quit, and he has the right to demand the non-compete. You should know, however, that if the non-compete is unreasonable in terms of duration or area, it's very likely a court would set it aside. The courts have been very sympathetic to the employees in these matters in recent years. This is not to say that this agreement that he has asked you to sign is not perfectly legal. I guess the choice is do you want to stay there or do you want to strike out with some other employer?
DEAR BRUCE: At least once a week, my wife and I receive credit card offers that include blank checks with our names and address on them. We are encouraged to spend them just like cash. I keep voiding these checks and sending them back with written requests to stop sending them. They keep coming. If these checks are stolen, are we responsible? What can we do to stop this? -- O.K., via e-mail
DEAR O.K.: To answer your most important question, if they are used without your knowledge or consent, you have no liability whatever, although it might take a little bit of doing to get the matter straightened out.
I don't know any way that you can stop these companies from these types of solicitations. Apparently whatever exposure exists is justifiable because of the business that it drums up. Just another condition of this new age that we live in. There is very little that you can do about it, except I wouldn't bother sending them back. I would just tear them up and put them in the
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