I’ve recently left a company 6 weeks to the day. They are a contract manufacturer serving the medical device industry. I left to go to a competitor. My situation was such that I was being forced to work 70-80hrs each week on salary. I was being held accountable for being a project manager when another employee was given the responsibility in writing via email. The accountability was severe, either succeed or we will ask for your resignation. They ask for your resignation at this company to avoid paying out for unemployment benefits. So I found another job doing the same thing for the company I had left 7 years previously.
Before giving my notice and under advisement from people who felt that this employer would sue me, I checked my personnel file prior to resigning. There was no non-compete present and I’m certain I didn’t sign one. The next day, I was “walked out” so as to not finish my two week notice. I was informed that I had a NDA. I asked why it was not present in my file. The HR director who is also a lawyer, stated that she did not keep them there. I asked for a copy now. She said she’d mail it to me. I asked if they planned on sueing me and she offered that they had not discussed that yet.
I started my new job a week later. The following day, a tuesday, I and my current employer received a letter stating their concern about my new employment talking about how I was breaching my contract and they called out the terms of the contract. It’s been 42 days since. I’ve had numerous emails and letters of contracts the former employer wants me to sign, alleged “Amicable resolution”. However, these solutions are really more restricting than the first contract they claim I signed but can’t produce.
I got a lawyer for about 5 days. That was the time it took for me to learn the initial $1000 retention and $5000 for a trial retention that might drain $25,000 total before it’s conclusion which comes with no guarantee or settlement to myself if I win.
I’m an engineer. I make less than $75,000 annually. I have a 3 bedroom ranch that we bought out of pre-foreclosure. I have two kids, one with special needs. I was passed up for pay raise as a direct result of taking 8 weeks on the family medical leave act some 2 years ago. I could go on and on.
This company has continued to threaten me with legal fees, injuncture and enjoinment but have not produced any evidence 42 days since my resignation. As an engineer I know that for any system, there will be those that seek to take advantage of it. In this case, I’m just an honest hard working family man and I’m being served with a sever injustice. I would appreciate it if you could take this into consideration with your bill.
Specifically, a contract manufacturer “job shop”, really only has possession of business that it secures on equipment that it either buys commercially or designs and builds itself. They have taken claim to things as their own property that I knew before I worked for this company. Seriously, its not like I developed a new BIOS for EMC or some revlotionary chemical process to develop Polaroid film.
I expect that I will receive filings and possibly a restraining order as early as 8/3 or 8/4. I’m at a total loss. I get home from work and spend my nights reading through blogs and other websites such as this to gain some hand hold over my situation. I’ve offered to not work on a project that contributed to 10% of their annual revenue just to get them to stop and they still want more.
When is this bill going before the senate?
Thanks very much for sharing this experience. People need to hear about cases like yours. This is exactly the kind of abuse we are trying to end. Our bill is likely to get a hearing in the fall. Unfortunately, it will not help you because it is prospective in application — we think that a retroactive application would violate the constitution. But the bill will protect people in your shoes in the future.
Again, thanks so very much for being willing to speak out.
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