Re: non-compete clauses

Subject: Re: non-compete clauses
From: Max Wyss <prodok -at- PRODOK -dot- CH>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 19:40:15 GMT


with translations, those non-compete clauses are even more ridiculous. In
many cases, companies have translations done through several agencies. Most
translators who do work for agencies do so with several ones.

Quite often, the translator does not even get to know who the client really
is. So, if he signs a non-compete agreement covering clients of a certain
agencies, he may unknowingly violate it when he does work for another

In my (Swiss) practice, I always cancel non-compete clauses, or at least do
rephrase them that I will not actively look for similar assignments in that
particular department of the agencies client for a certain time.

If the client does want me, I will let them know about possible problems,
and I will have them protect me against attacks from the agency. Well, if
the clients directly wants me, the agency's services weren't that good

Just my two cents.

Max Wyss
PRODOK Engineering AG
Technical documentation and translations, Electronic Publishing
CH-8906 Bonstetten, Switzerland

Fax: +41 1 700 20 37
e-mail: mailto:prodok -at- prodok -dot- ch or 100012 -dot- 44 -at- compuserve -dot- com


>No, the agencies DON'T hold all the cards. What you've been seeing is a
>paucity of responses from the people who usually speak up when this
>issue arises.
>Most general non-compete clauses are fundamentally unenforceable in many
>states, except in tightly defined situations. However, "enforceability"
>is a court issue, not one that stops attorneys from writing and
>threatening and even filing cases. So you, the hapless challenger, wind
>up having to pay attorney fees and court costs in order to keep your
>right to work in the environment being challenged, whether that's
>geographic, industry-defined, or in a specific period of time. And
>there's the tradeoff - the agencies usually know most individual
>contractors will cave in rather than go to the expense of hiring a
>lawyer to do battle for them. It's called intimidation.
>However, there's another side to this coin. If you ever expect to work
>for this agency again, or for people with whom they do business, it
>makes sense to not take them on directly. Many companies who use
>agencies to find people for them don't want to get in the middle of a
>dispute between an agency and an individual contractor, and will simply
>pass on the individual if the agency indicates there's a problem.
>Furthermore, especially in Silicon Valley, headhunters tend to move
>around a lot, so fighting with one person at an agency may mean
>jeopardizing your chances of working with another agency when that
>person decides to move.
>Agencies in Silicon Valley seem to know better than to have contractors
>sign highly restrictive non-compete agreements. A year is OK, but
>anything more than that is ridiculous.
>Elna Tymes
>Los Trancos Systems

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