Just read an interesting article on the troubles of a news broadcaster in St. Louis, Missouri, Larry Conners. It appears Mr. Conners made some derogatory remarks about the Internal Revenue Service on his Facebook page which his employer, KMOV and parent company Belo Corp., found unacceptable. As a result, Conners was fired from his job.
Mr. Conners must have planned to move on to another television news show in the St. Louis area when his ex-employer reminded him of the non-compete contract he signed when he began employment with KMOV. The non-compete contract prevents Conners from working in broadcasting in the St. Louis area for a period of one year. Conners complained the non-compete would prevent him from providing for his family in his chosen line of work.
Non-compete contracts are common for television and radio personalities. Media owners know the viewing public becomes attached to their favorite news reporters and will follow them if they move to another media outlet in the same geographical area. Fewer eyeballs watching means fewer dollars from the advertisers! It is all about the money! It doesn’t seem fair but it is the law in the majority of states.
My Take: Don’t sign an employment agreement which contains a non-compete provision unless you fully understand the legal impact of what you are asked to sign. Just because you think the offer is for your “dream job” it may turn out to be a nightmare and, if so, your post-employment options may be greatly limited.