Dropping the threshold from 180k to 100k would cause everyone who has maxed out their salary at Amazon to have enforceable non-competes.
I'd be curious what types of jobs at Amazon were immediately under the 100k threshold, and what percent of the total Washington state Amazon workforce has a salary of 100k+?
For example, in our state, teachers and government employees receive a full pension after 20 years of service. That pension pays out 1/2 of some average of their previous few year's salary. Even if you retire making a relatively modest $60K/yr, that pension is still worth north of $50K/yr over those 20 years.
Salaries that don't include pensions aren't nearly as generous as they sound. $100K/yr without a pension is comparable to $40K/yr with a pension.
1. Including absolutely incredible housing price inflation in major cities like Seattle which typical measures of inflation don't properly capture).
I don’t know the specifics of the examples you are thinking of, but pricing the pension value/cost at $50k a year probably posits some extreme assumptions (e.g., start and retire at lowest age, end with a very high salary, take pension with full value immediately, and live a very long time).
I think you would be shocked how much an annuity costs that pays out starting at <50 years (like police or other workers with very strong unions get). One million dollars saved up might get an annuity of $30,000 per year.
The post my original reply was to was for teachers and “general government workers”. I gave a typical retirement age for those folks.
Military, police, firefighters, and (iirc) prison employees are a completely different cup of tea. Unions are a part of it, but the element of danger is also supposed to be factored into their pensions (rightly or wrongly). They also can start getting paid as soon as they retire without regard for age (unlike many/most other pensions).
All that said, the reality is actually worse. Structurally those positions tend to give members of those groups a relatively-easy-to-get disability component to their retirement (which can often be huge). They also have functionally similar jobs with higher pay that are designed to goose up their salaries for the last x years that is used to determine their pension.
These pensions are completely out of control, imho. That said, the politics and optics around those jobs make them tough to change to a more reasonable level.
These types of pensions are completely different than that of a typical government worker that doesn’t work in these types of jobs — a complete apples and oranges comparison, imho.
The crazy benefits that people nag about are for uniformed folks only, as they tend to get overtime based on seniority, and don’t have aggressive caps. Most civilian employees like teachers don’t get anything like that.
The caveat to that is as of today you contribute 4.4% of your salary / year into the pension fund, in addition to 401K savings + social security. The Obama administration raised it from 0.8%.
Even then, sure, it's above median. My point is that it's still "normal middle-class average joe" money, not "basically an executive so there should be different special non-compete rules" money.
It may not "feel like it" but to be alleviated of financial burden and put away meaningful savings puts you above half the country outright.
Non-conpetes should be reserved for select few in the firm that know the secret sauce, and are paid well enough that a year on the beach will hardly affect their cash flow.
Basically executive level compensation and responsibility.
This clearly does not qualify.
I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to calculate how much you would have to save in a 401K over 20 years to have that much at retirement.
When making these calculations, remember:
- lifetime annuity
- include death protection (at least in my state, surviving spouses continue receiving pension payments).
- Everything above $19,500 is fully taxed (...and, in fact, not including tax on that $19.5K isn't even an apples-to-apples comparison).
Anyways, you can add or subtract many tens of thousands to the annual salary equivalent and the point remains the same: without a pension, $100K is not "special person who doesn't need non-compete" money.
I don't know how to square this with 12 percent of salary I was contributing towards the state pension. Care to share your math? I agree that pensions are worth something, but not 150% of salary.
There is a big difference between money taxed and money saved, and calling money collected from Social Security “savings” is misleading.
The drawback of a capital-only pension system is that ever more and more "dumb money" gets locked into things like ETFs - and more and more shares of "safe" companies get owned by entities which have ... questionable interest in exercising their voting rights.
For example, take big oil or coal companies. Their time to live is limited, last but not least because the demand is going to dry up sooner or later. Normally, investors would shed off these shares or at least push the company to sustainable goals - think car companies here: the long term goal that's most beneficial to society is to shift to electric / hydrogen, while the short-term goal that's most beneficial to next quarter's benefit is to cut r&d and sell high-margin SUVs instead.
The other problem that locking huge amounts of money into ETFs presents is a bit more complex: as more and more marker volume is held by ETFs which have to track the base stock get into a precarious position. Assume a stock drops in value because of a large sell-off, bad news, a Presidential Tweet or whatever, the ETFs the funds have to follow... and sell off, creating a race to the bottom due to oversupply (and the other way around). That means that, as more and more percentage of wealth is gobbled up by "dumb money", the remaining traders gain undue influence since they can essentially force the hands of the dumb money.
And then there is the final drawback: a government backed pension scheme like the German one where current employees pay the pensions of current pensioners in exchange for the in-kind promise ("Rentenpunkte") will weather any economic crash as long as the government keeps existing. A capital-based system is in for a nasty surprise in a total collapse event. The 'rona was a warning sign in that case.
You're undercomplicating the story of Social Security.
1. The program was instituted with an eye towards applying to everyone immediately, not 30 years from now. You cannot hand out retirement benefits to people using savings that were never set aside; so the program was always pay as you go. Not necessarily a bad thing but considering the government has low borrowing costs, perhaps it should issue some low cost, long term debt to fund the program. On the other hand, investing on the margin like this is fraught, so /shrug
2. There actually was some investment made when the boomer population came around. They were putting in more money than their predecessors took out and thus we have a surplus. Those boomers are now retiring and drawing down social security surpluses has begun, leading to the '75 cents on the dollar' estimates we've seen
3. The actuarial estimate of the cost of running social security relies on predicting variables far into the future, many of which are affected by the rules of social security itself. Longevity in particular has gone up with time.
4. People on average are not great at investing. They buy high and sell low, they buy the dividend, they don't read the prospectus. They're not even great at saving; it's why we had to institute the SS program as mandatory. Folks pointing to their 401k strategy on HN ignores how the HN crowd is a highly biased sample of the population.
Anyways, even if it were equivalent to $30K, as others have suggested, I think that still speaks to my original point. That doesn't exactly hit my threshold for "wow you're definitely super duper well-paid so we should exempt you from non-compete rules because you're making so much damn money".
Or the employer stiffed the pension fund in the past.
I think with 1.2mn you can get a better annuity than 20k/year
It’s probably more like a 100k job with no pension is comparable to 60-70k with a final salary pension
Sure, there might be an employer match, and your money will maybe grow over those 20 years, but unless there's a generous match and your portfolio grows, a lot of that gets eaten up by the 20%-30% taxes you're paying on that extra $40K you need to save. I mean, market returns were good between 2009 and 2019, but beating that tax burden of 20%-30% a year is pretty damn hard.
Also, your money might now grow over those 20 years. Especially the next 20 years. I don't think anyone has high hopes. "Past performance is no guarantee of future results". C.f. public sector pensions, which receive extraordinary protections and pay out the same whether the market is up 5% or down 30%.
The other not talked-about benefit is that a public pension is doing the investing and maintaining the financial discipline for you. Most people in the United States are not capable of this, as the savings rate has only been approximately 7%[https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PSAVERT], and 5 years down the road Once the Covid vaccine is developed and the economy has recovered it will probably return to those levels. Which brings me to the point that it is almost impossible for 99% of people in the United States to save 40k/yr. At a 10% savings rate this is someone making 400k/yr which is way above average even for FAANG companies. So government work might not be so bad afterall.
That $5055 is not much, under the Roth IRA limit and not nearly enough to pay the median rent for a 1br apartment in the United States At $1025/mo per month https://www.abodo.com/blog/2018-annual-rent-report/amp/. IMO it’s time to go full ubi and Soviet housing blocks as we are keeping way too much artificial scarcity in housing. This will only get worse and causes more social unrest as we are currently seeing the beginnings of.
Why? I’d rather pay government employees in cash rather than with future tax money from my kids as the politicians and government employee unions will undoubtably understated benefit costs and underfund it.
well 2 factors..
1. Most people care about TODAY not tomorrow, this is reflective in all kinds of metrics related to personal fiance
2. Many people do not have kids, including myself, so I am not sure if I care they paying with things with YOUR kids tax money instead of my tax money
You seem to instead mean something like "prompts the question" or "brings to mind the question"
Language is a lot more nuanced than a freshman philosophy major’s Logic 101 textbook.
"literally"'s conversion to meaning its opposite represents a loss of meaning in the language; expressiveness dulling into useless ambiguity.
"begs the question" isn't a term that expresses the underlying idea effectively, it merely indicates a failing attempt to sound educated.
In either case, I prefer to educate people on how to use language less dismally. This does make me a pedant.
I prefer this discussion of the meaning of the term: https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2290
Further where compound interest limits the impact of savings very close to retirement, pensions are more closely linked to your final salary.
Early on compound interest often wins, but at 40 getting a government job can be a very good financial decision.
Also, medicare doesn’t have a cap and is also ignores your 401k.
Is this a tax? Is it materially different from the universe today?
Social security is an investment, you should consider it as such when budgeting for retirement.
The spouse of a young worker can also receive benefits assuming they have children. But, that’s very much a social program effectively independent of how much money the worker had paid into SS though not their income.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The SSI program pays benefits based on financial need and is intended for low income individuals and families.
If SS taxes where not paying for that money then it would need to come from the general fund. Similarly, with SS doubling your income from 50k to 100k doesn’t double they payout at retirement age. Instead, money is being shifted to support the less fortunate. Further, a married couple with one worker get’s a 50% larger payment than if that same worker never married.
In the end social security doesn’t act like a self funded retirement program.
No, I they can be much higher than 50%. I think the NFL does a 200% match.
There is a $56,000 total limit though of employee + employer contributions. So assuming that an employer wants to do the max match that still has the employee contribute 19500, then that employer should have a (56000-19500)/19500 = 187% match.
I'm sorry, but what? Rent or Rent equivalent is absolutely a part of US regional inflation measures.
edit: The BLS publishes a Consumer Price Index published by for Seattle metro area^1. The breakdown^2 quite literally includes housing as part of the basket of goods, listing about a 3 percent increase for that section yoy, and I believe the weighting is typically 1/3 of the total index. Seems like it's capturing it just fine?
EDIT: And rent is part of the national CPI as well. It just doesn't reflect narrow regional trends because why would it? Those are outliers, and not particularly relevant national news media, and even those news stories that do cover it would use the more specific Case-Shiller indecies to tell the story.
I don't understand - are you saying that Amazon pays nobody in Seattle more than $160k? I can't believe that's true. How are they employing competent senior people for so little? Are they paying their corporate lawyers that low?
I'd guess they have some leeway make exceptions to the cap, and I have no idea if it applies to management track positions.
It's still kind of amazing that so many people go there, I guess it's that great big top line number when you add in stock. I know so many people who left there before 2 years, cause they hated it so much. What are the places that don't suck there?
There is no clawback - I checked my paperwork. I think one of my friends told me that he did get part of his bonus when he was first hired. In that case there would probably be a clawback.
A friend hired as an SDE II at the same time had a higher sign on bonus, not paid as a lump sum, so no clawback.
If your total compensation is something like a quarter of a million as an Amazon engineer does that mean you have to live much more frugally for your first year until you get your bonus and shares?
5% in year 1, 15% in year 2, 40% in year 3, 40% in year 4.
This is unfavorable compared to other top-paying tech companies, however Amazon may offer a sign-on bonus for years 1 and 2 to help even out the total annual comp.
Aaah, I see how it all works together then.
On the other hand, AMZN stock has done much better than Facebook, Google, Apple over the last five years, so at least they have that.
Yes, but you don't have to work at AMZN to buy their stock. And RSUs are just another name for 'cash compensation, that was immediately spent on buying company stock'.
I think I heard that Amazon bases future grants on the assumption that the stock price will increase 15%. But I can tell you that my salary+bonus+RSU when they made an offer was based on the stock price not changing.
The same goes for the sign on bonus, they ignore the bonus portion of comp unless there is two years of history and an expectation that it will continue.
Source: I have been at Amazon for 2.5 years and checked with a LOT of banks.
They look at what they can verify on your taxes. So let’s say you made $350k at Amazon last year, that’s all they really worry about. Doesn’t matter if only half of that was salary. They’d still consider your income as $350k and use that to approve whatever amount you’re looking to borrow.
If you just started at Amazon they wouldn’t be using your income to verify anyway. They’d want your previous work history going back, in some cases, 5 years.
Year one comp was about $520k (160 base, 320 bonus, 40 RSU)
Year two comp was around $580k (160 base, 280 bonus, 140 RSU)
This year I’m on pace to gross near $700k (160 base, no bonus, 500+ RSUs)
Stock comp wouldn’t be excluded in any kind of limit anyways.
In what world is that "just ok"?
2. People who are there previous five years are quoting their TC w/ current stock prices, people who recently onboarded do not have the same strike price and will be less.
3. Golden handcuffs, and apparently non-compete.
It sounds nice on paper, but spend some time in Downtown and go to a few Amazonian bars and you'll figure out alot of the downsides. Especially if you're at any of Amazon projects that aren't really..working e.g. Blue Origin.
Lobbying is legal in most (all?) of Europe too. It's a slippery activity to pin down, not amenable to banning because it consists of nominally innocuous activities. You can put degrees of limitation on activities that reduce what you'd call lobbying, but I don't see how you could make it fully illegal.
The bad, and frankly unbelievable part, is the whole "money is speech" and the fact that it's OK for lobbyists to just transfer money in many different forms to politicians as a firm of persuasion to vote for/against certain pieces of legislation.
The first term is that it is unenforceable:
• Unless the employer discloses the terms of the covenant in writing to the prospective employee no later than the time of the acceptance of the offer of employment and, if the agreement becomes enforceable only at a later date due to changes in the employee's compensation, the employer specifically discloses that the agreement may be enforceable against the employee in the future
• If the covenant is entered into after the commencement of employment, unless the employer provides independent consideration for the covenant.
The second term is that it is unenforceable:
• Unless the employee's earnings from the party seeking enforcement, when annualized, exceed one hundred thousand dollars per year.
The third term is that it is unenforceable:
• If the employee is terminated as the result of a layoff, unless enforcement of the noncompetition covenant includes compensation equivalent to the employee's base salary at the time of termination for the period of enforcement minus compensation earned through subsequent employment during the period of enforcement.
So...if you earn more than $100k, and you were properly notified of it when hired (or paid to accept it if it was added on later), and you are not leaving due to a layoff or they aren't willing to keep paying you while the noncompete runs out, then it might be enforceable.
Adding some context: as I understood, L1B is a "transfer" visa for "existing" employees, which under "existing" often mean record of employment being outright forged, or being put on very low key position with explicit intent of later L1B transfer. L1B is supposed to be of lesser value than L1A, which opens much more options for an employee/corporate serf to away.
I believe the change is due to the later being a much easier door to US for a lot of people from low income countries where Amazon runs captive outsourcing centres. They didn't want people to scout for another, better jobs around the moment they stepped into US, even if that mean the next hiring company had to do its own L1 for them.
All L1 visas are internal transfers; they require extensive documentation of the role being performed outside the US for an extended period, and tie you to a specific set of responsibilities in the US; and they are not transferable once in the US - you can’t move to an L1 at another company, because you haven’t worked for that company outside the US. THe difference between a and b is just the kinds of roles that are eligible for transfer.
If you are on an L1 and you quit or are dismissed, you lose your immigration status and have to leave the US.
Since it’s much easier to get hired and potentially get sponsorship from within the US, So I’m guessing this is why Amazon added the non-compete.
Green card application takes forever and is never certain. It will take years, all while you have to stay with the same employer (unlike with H1B visa). And if you are an Indian national, then it goes from "multiple years" to "closer to a decade or longer".
As for "through sponsorship", this has nothing to do with L1. "Sponsorship" means finding an employer that would be willing to file for an H1B visa for you. Whether you have an existing L1 visa or not has no bearing on that process. It is no easier for another employer to file for H1B visa if you already have an L1 visa. Finding a company willing to sponsor your H1B is the exact same process and difficulty with L1 visa as it is without one.
Overall if you come as an executive or managerial staff or are promoted to one within your employment you have a fairly easy green card to attain that H1B and many other visa holders don’t.
As for the rest don’t underestimate the value of local networking and recruitment.
I remember Apple and Google getting into trouble over non-compete several years back.
Plus we're really talking about processes on different scales. Individuals moving elsewhere doesn't say much about the pace of creating companies to pursue novel innovations.
I'll also note that CA not having non-competes makes it easy for people to leave and start companies elsewhere. The real question is whether those new companies will create dynamic local scenes of their own, in the same way the Fairchildren did here. If they don't, and if Silicon Valley keeps being a hub of innovation, that's a great sign that banning noncompetes still matters.
If a company isn't willing to negotiate their work agreement (and I understand this is difficult with a legal department; they prefer to have unified contracts for all employees based on their start year), then there is no "meeting of the minds" when it comes to signing that agreement. It's not a work contract at that point, it's an EULA.
I personally know people who were told by potential employers they couldn't be considered because of non-competes. They are unethical and they should be banned national wide in the US and not just in certain states like California.
The most obvious way is to require paying the employee their previous average total compensation, while still allowing the employee to work outside the non-compete. There should also be some form of “as time goes on you need to pay more to prevent them from taking a competing job”. If you don’t want to pay someone to not work for a competitor, then your non-compete should not be valid.
If it isn't paid, the non-compete isn't enforceable.
It also requires a few more limits to be enforceable:
- "reasonably" limited in time
- geographically limited
- a specific activity / role
So they usually aren't ever enforced, because most of the time employers don't find them worth it.
It covers high-priced sales executives, C-levels, and very senior engineers just fine. Those are the positions that might reasonably take sensitive financials or trade secrets with them.
Joe Blow Web-developer? There shouldn't be a need. And if there is, pay him for the duration.
This is similar to the British concept called “gardening leave”.
Noncompetes are not inherently unethical and should absolutely not be outlawed. If a company wants to pay you $500k to not work and you are willing to be paid $500k to not work you should have the right to come to a mutual agreement with them on the matter.
It’s a free country, if you don’t like the noncompete, find some other place to work. No one is forcing you to sign it.
Whether or not they're "inherently" unethical is a matter for philosophers. But in practice, they're clearly used heavily as an anticompetitive measure and to exploit labor. Those are definitely unethical, and contrary to free markets.
Your last line is willfully blind to labor history. Quite a lot of employers have done their best to make sure other options are limited. Employers definitionally have a huge power advantage, and there's nothing wrong with leveling the playing field to prevent exploitation.
The "or else" here is you walk away and seek out an agreement with someone else. You're not forced to sign a contract just because it's not negotiable.
> Those are definitely unethical, and contrary to free markets.
I don't think it's unethical or exploitative to pay someone $500k to sit on a beach and relax for a year. Many non-competes are also industry specific, so you can even double dip and get a job while collecting your gardening leave payout as long as it's not within the same subfield you used to work in.
You can argue that certain low-wage, low-skill employees need a paycheck every two weeks or starve, and these people have zero leverage or ability to walk away from a punitive contract, but highly paid tech workers don't fall into this category. There are plenty of options out there for you if you don't want to sign a noncompete. Some people like the idea of getting paid a bunch of money to not work, just because you don't like noncompetes doesn't mean you are entitled to force your personal preferences on other people against their will by outlawing such agreements.
Sometimes non-competes are so lucrative that employees sue their own employers to force them to uphold them even when the employers don't want to.
Does that sound like exploitation to you?
There is a question about whether or not the contract is ethical, but that's irrelevant to the original point. Which is simply this: contracts should be negotiable. If they're not, use your leverage.
ALL contracts are negotiable, it's just a matter of which parts. Your salary is part of the contract, and everyone should be negotiating that.
Where did I say that you're not entitled to refuse to deal with companies that won't negotiate with you? Of course you're free to walk away if you the company doesn't want to negotiate with you, but the company isn't doing anything wrong by not wanting to negotiate and there is no legal or moral requirement for them to negotiate.
> contracts should be negotiable
Disagree. Contracts can be whatever the entity who draws them up wants them to be. If you don't like it don't sign it.
You conveniently omit what I'm referring to above with "those", which is not the four-leaf-clover, sit-on-a-beach contracts. It's the rest, which involve no pay and foreclosed employment options. Those are indeed unethical (in that they exploit power to create negative-sum outcomes) and contrary to free markets (in that they reduce both supply and demand to advantage a powerful market player).
Generally, that's not how non-competes work in the US. They are typically unpaid. WA just changed their laws. CA mostly outlaws them all together. Most other states allow them.
You're also possibly arguing for a position of higher power as an employee than is typical. Most employees don't have the luxury of forgoing offers based on contract language that HR promises won't be enforced (until it is).
There is actually a much better solution than this.
The better solution is to sign the contract, and then completely ignore it, afterwords.
The reality is, that in many top tech places it is extremely difficult to enforce non-competes. And it is perfectly possible, most of the time to get away with ignoring them completely.
Company could for example still keep you hired for that time, without requiring you to perform any work for them. I don't believe non-compete ban would apply for that time, since you are technically still their employee so you still have your responsibilities as long as you are being paid.
Besides a company could still keep you employed without requiring you to work for them to prevent you from working for a competitor. The thing is that they would rather not pay and prevent you from finding a job at another place, and that's what the law protects from.
Instead insist that they include a severance clause that continues to pay you during the term of the non-compete. Either they are serious about the non-compete and will pay you, or they will drop it at that point.
Don't just sign away a deal point for nothing in exchange.
Courts carefully scrutinize adhesion contracts and sometimes void certain provisions because of the possibility of unequal bargaining power, unfairness, and unconscionability. Factoring into such decisions include the nature of the agreement, the possibility of unfair surprise, lack of notice, unequal bargaining power, and substantive unfairness. Courts often use the “doctrine of reasonable expectations” as a justification for invalidating parts or all of an adhesion contract: the weaker party will not be held to adhere to contract terms that are beyond what the weaker party would have reasonably expected from the contract, even if what he or she reasonably expected was outside the strict letter of agreement."
Trying to negotiate (in writing) and getting it denied makes it abundantly clear it is a contract of adhesion. This significantly weakens the contract's validity on abnormal clauses.
Since you tried to negotiate about the non-compete it should come as no surprise that there is a non-compete and you could reasonably expect it to be enforced. In fact since they signaled that they really want the non-compete, your expectation of it being enforced should go up.
An email asking how much of a salary drop it would take to drop the non compete (thus giving Amazon the chance to negotiate) and them replying with "its non-negotiable" should go quite far, the problem is you have to wait until Amazon sues you to actually see if it'll work.
Your best bet would be to retain a lawyer as soon as you get an offer and tell him to do his best to get you out of the non compete, and the legal strategy will vary greatly depending on the state in which you are being hired.
Imagine if adhesion contracts didn't exist and you had to to have your lawyers negotiate every grocery store purchase.
The non-compete specifically says that I am not allowed to open source any software, and until very recently, I wasn't allowed to even open a Github issue. The wording specifically says that they own anything I conceive of while working for them.
I shouldn't have signed it, I'm always working on personal projects and it's kind of depressing that I only realistically have the option to either donate my project to my corporation so that, at best, they own all rights to it and probably never open source it, OR not-release anything so that I have plausible deniability if/when I quit.
Or ... just do open source under an alias.
When I looked into something similar I found that while companies will fight tooth and nail to not sign away rights to a specific idea/effort, the law is very much on the employee's side as long as you don't use corporate equipment to do it.
1) Competing with your current company while moonlighting.
2) Leaving your current company and using any knowledge you gained there against them.
3) Leaving your current company and using your skill set at an unrelated company.
Contracts forbidding 1 & 2 are usually defensible both morally and legally. It’s 3 where the metaphorical water gets murky, since overly broad contracts of this type basically deny workers the ability to work and earn money for the duration of the noncompete, if enforced.
Of course, it also required arbitration of anything around that area.
They seemed surprised when I brought it up as onerous!
Edit: This was in the UK where these seem to be becoming the norm.
Careful on that one. A good negotiator will always want you to think that what you want in your favour is surprising, onerous and that nobody has asked for that before.
I don't know which giant tech company is your employer. But at least Google has a very streamlined internal process you can apply for to let Google release the copyright of your side project to you. (disclaimer: I worked for Google, and in particular worked somewhat close with the people reviewing those cases for a few years)
Lots of California-based companies have strict policies about ownership of projects that you do on your own time. And there are certainly companies outside of California that don't have non-competes and which have liberal policies about open source contributions.
Wonder if maybe this is why some companies are expanding in other places like Austin, Texas or Salt Lake City? Like for example Apple is going to the largest employer in Austin, yet Texas doesn't offer as many employment protections... Maybe as things grow, Texas and other states will look into the issue more... I do think in general tech spreading throughout the country instead of being centralized in California is a pro though.
That's quite normal, at least under Dutch labour law. It prevents IP discussions if an employee does anything outside of the 9-5 working hours, or anything they were not directly instructed to by their manager.
Of course there can be exceptions, e.g., we exempt open source software by default, and are open for any discussions on other side projects the employee may have. But the concept that all your programming work belongs to the company is not that strange.
Also note that this is not a non-compete, but simply an IP clause.
It is absolutely strange that they’d think they own anything that I do outside of the 8 hours a day I work for them.
Much of my value is in designing solutions to technical challeneges, not in cranking out lines of code.
This gets even more complex if I get an idea that builds on something I only learned due to my position, but itself isn't directly related to my role. If I could only have ever conceived my idea due to proprietary info, who gets the IP?
For example do you believe it would be ethical for a company to claim ownership over a "hot new angry birds" game that goes viral simply because they have a IP clause in their employment contract covering the employment of that programmer who also works on their LOB ERP Application?
It should be in very limited to at minimum the type of work I do, one should not have to surrender their mind over to the company for their wages
That we've acquiesced and allowed the situation to fester means that such clauses are not unusual. They are, however, in the grand scheme of things very, very strange.
- You hire someone and they create something and use it as part of your software.
- They leave.
- Then they sue you because they say you are using their software that they created in their spare time.
Or any of the other 999 IP disputes that can arise from not being very clear about who owns the IP of things your employees create.
the company falls on hard times, cuts my pay but I happen to submit one of my books to a publisher, it becomes a HUGE success and now the company claims to own the right to that book (the money they need to save the company) because they own everything that comes from my mind under these unethical and immoral provisions
The reason they have this progress is that google does so many things that almost anything could be considered competing with Google.
Alphabet has subsidiaries that work in medicine and autonomous vehicles. You sure your side project isn't competing with the company? You sure you can do so in court when the company comes after you with its top-notch legal team?
Here is your mistake. The reality is, that they arent going to do that, the vast majority of the time.
The only time when it maybe might happen, is in far out there situations, such as, for example, when that self-driving car guy, built his own multi-hundred million dollar company, on the basis of stolen google documents.
And even then google only went after this guy, after he sold the company to Uber. Before that, google was perfectly fine with the guy running his mult-hundred million dollar company.
Are you going to create a multi-hundred million dollar company, on the basis of literal stolen documents? No? then you almost certainly don't have to worry about it. Nobody is coming after you.
This is for serious side ventures, like you creating a self driving car company on the side. Use common sense, fault on the side of disclosure, and you'll be alright.
That was clearly answered:
> because I get free uncapped CI minutes if it is public
To me, this is a form of slavery, giving away a life's work for a salary.
California Business & Professions Code section 16600 makes clear that any non-compete provision between employer and employee will not be enforceable under California law
(Though nothing is actually enforcable in India like you said, simply because you would probably be retired before the case would get a court date)
This is only true of Amazon. As far as I'm aware, none of the others have non-competes (Google certainly doesn't).
So maybe the more succinct advice is, just don't work for Amazon.
Please have some empathy for people like me that can't waltz into any job and don't say things like this.
I'm not sure what happens if you're hired in California and then transfer somewhere else.
Since it's Washington State we're talking about: Googlers who join in WA state do not have a Non-compete in their contract (at least the "rank and file" engineers), even though Google could add it and Amazon/Microsoft have one.
In fact Google took it a step further and tried to lobby to get non-compete banned in WA State:
There was an almost full-ban on non-compete that was proposed a few years ago in Washington State. Google came to the public hearings with full support for the law as it is (which make sense given the status for non compete in California - and how it had gotten sued by Microsoft over one employee, and now again by Amazon). The law would have made it that non-compete are void if laid-off, and void if over 1 year max or if you're not an executive employee.
But Microsoft, Amazon, and the hospitals lobbied hard against it. (Hospitals are using those non-competes on both nurses and doctors apparently)
So the bill got rewritten where it only applies to people with a total comp less than 185k, and where student debt could be subtracted to that 185k. This, again, got fought more by opponents.
Now the ban on non compete only applies to people whose yearly salary (total comp as listed on W-2) is less than 100k, So doctors and tech workers at those companies get nothing out of it, except the clarification that non compete:
- cannot be for longer than 18 months
- if employee is laid off and non compete is enforced, the company must pay base salary for the duration of non-compete.
Geekwire had a good coverage of it over the years:
And the original bills:
final bill: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1450&Initiativ...
Washington State has no income, capital gains, or payroll tax. All we have are consumption taxes that people with lower incomes are forced to pay more of as a percentage of their incomes versus people with higher incomes. This is doubly so since people with higher incomes have the financial leverage to minimize consumption taxes. There's little tax-based incentive to attract and retain people with high incomes. If anything, we are somewhat of a drain on the overall society because we price out and displace people who don't have those incomes while we pay, on a percentage-of-income basis, comparatively little back into society relative to what we're earning.
I'm certain some people will come along under me and crow about how this is the whole reason why they moved to Washington instead of another but I am not particularly moved by any reasoning someone might put forward.
0 - My bias: I am a very well paid employee living in Seattle so I include myself in this but am also active in advocacy for levying taxes on myself and people like me for a more equitable tax system in this city, county, and state.
1 - Buying in bulk, buying a single higher-cost good that will last longer than lower-cost goods that must be replaced, evading taxes by traveling or buying online and accepting the risk of not being held accountable for paying the consumption tax
I'd say that's valid enough reason to move on its own. I've lived in Seattle for forever and the weather is one of the things that has kept me here through economic ups and downs.
The cost of living is only "low" here for people like us who are already doing very well for ourselves and I'm not at all enjoying the yawing inequity becoming increasingly wider. I'm not someone who pines for the "better days" of yesteryear or wants to cling tightly to some treasured local watering hole. We need a sane tax policy and a sane housing policy otherwise this all comes to a crashing halt.
For example, if the company pays you your old salary for a year after you leave, the non-compete with be enforceable.
If they just part ways with no reasonable exchange of value for the non-compete period, all you have to claim is this is how you make your crust.
Those folk have a serious legal consititution.
Seems a little overzealous if you are a rank and file
But, then again, for some roles a public presence is needed, like public speaking. You can't temporarily have the role of "janitor" and go out and speak authoritatively about AWS at a conference with that role. Maybe people will get the joke after understanding the true state of these agreements.
Wait, do we even have conferences anymore?
It is my understanding that you can often get away with being a lot more subtle than that. Things like throwing a proprietary product name in your title, a title that sounds more like a manager, etc.
Companies are not sending private detectives, to follow engineers to their new job, and finding out specifically what they are working on, and if the contract is enforceable or not.
Mostly, people just forget about you, once you leave. People get away with lying all the time.
Though, it's really up to Amazon whether they want to keep you unemployed for 18 months, which is (in my mind) totally unethical to even have in the contract in the first place.
Has anyone here had a company try to enforce their non compete, and can share their insights?
If a business can get even a small fraction of its labor to follow unenforcable/essentially illegal requirements, they've made significant headway, even if they don't ever choose to attempt to litigate. Over time, those practices can become normalized and set industry standards where they become more and more successful.
I think it should be illegal to even stipulate such requirements in contracts to begin with to prevent businesses from eroding labor rights over time. There should be massive fines in place that penalize even stipulating those sort of clauses to make sure businesses only include reasonable language/requirements.
1: Yes, I am aware that there are a few software engineers out there with specialized skills who have successfully managed to negotiate some non-salary terms out of their employment agreements. Congratulations, you are not representative of the general employee population.
I'm pretty sure I don't want to be in a position where I'd be fired if a 10-year old lie came out.