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>> For non-competes, NDAs should suffice.

With all that complaining about signing away your right to sue and work, why do you think it's OK to sign away your right to speak? Serious question.

> With all that complaining about signing away your right to sue and work, why do you think it's OK to sign away your right to speak? Serious question.

NDAs are also bs mostly but they cover company specific confidential information and possibly information on clients, contractors, employees etc. All of that is fair to not speak about as that is their property and what they are doing.

Non-competes want you to usually stop using your skills that you brought to the company, with other companies. It is really absurd when a company that wants a 6-month contract wants a non-compete for 2 years, laughable.

You can speak, just not about privileged information. With non-competes the most honorable thing they can claim is that they don't want you taking expertise they probably helped pay for you to get (either on-the-job or otherwise) and have someone else benefit from it. But really I think most of us would agree that restricting someone's right to use their own qualifications is overly broad. A better solution to that concern would be that they pay for training, if necessary, and you pay some of it back based on how much longer you remain in their employ, similar to some relocation agreements.

Not discussing confidential material shared with you on condition of your employer with an NDA is quite similar IMO to not sharing material information about a company's health days before their public earnings call. 1st amendment rights are not absolute. I'm not allowed to engage in libel, yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, etc. I think abiding by NDA's about internal, confidential information is analagous and helps promote real, fair competition.

You just had to do it, didn't you?

Every time you say, "yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater," a civil rights lawyer is forced to kick a puppy.

Care to elaborate? Genuinely curious here.

It was coined by a judge attempting to justify legal censorship of someone protesting the existence of the draft.


Thanks. I didn't know about the historical context of that argument and it turned out to be quite important.

Well that is the textbook case of 1st amendment rights not being absolute.

Well, no, it's dicta in the textbook case—Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919)—of the Supreme Court getting swept aside by security hysteria and failing to protect the First Amendment; a decision whose substance was overruled by Brandenburg v. U.S., 395 U.S. 444 (1969).

I stand corrected, thank you. I recall being told specifically in 7th grade social studies that that was an actual case in the 1920's where someone did yell fire. I'm aware of other cases where the court decision was, "here's a ridiculous extreme we obviously wouldn't go to, so obviously let's just rule that it doesn't apply at all," and I hate it, so I'll stop using this :)

I don't need to tell anybody what my former employer was working on, and doing so would not even benefit me. I do need to be able to work in my field though. More often than not, one's skillset is sought by similar businesses.

Imagine a physician signing a non-compete. What's he supposed to do then? Not practice medicine and go be a consultant or something?

My sister in law is a physician, her non-compete doesn’t allow her to practice specific aspects of her responsibility in her county, any surrounding county or in a 75 mile radius for 18 months.

My nephew was asked to sign a non-compete in a sandwich shoppe, to protects the trade secrets of making a ham sandwich!

Because a company still needs some level of protection against having their trade secrets spread to their direct competitors by way of a defecting employee.

So you think a companies trade secrets are more important than a person's first amendment rights? I'm playing devil's advocate here BTW. I think trade secrets might be over rated.

"Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech [...]"

This is not related to 1st amendment; this is no law being passed by congress or any government body. Nothing prevents a person from speaking after an NDA is signed - they won't get tossed in jail, because no law was broken. However, after doing so, they will be responsible for any civil penalties they agreed to when they signed the contract.

I only brought in the first amendment to highlight the importance of the right to free speech. Contracts are important but perhaps some things should not be allowed in them. Many contracts are unfair, but people enter into them anyway for various reasons.

People have been trying to charge rent on ideas for just about forever. We have patents and copyrights for that purpose. Not that I'm a fan of where that have gone (the length of copyright and even 20 years on patents).

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