Oh, the things you wish you knew yesterday! This will fall into this category for me! The non-compete clause. I always thought this was for doctors or maybe nurse practitioners. Wrong! They are showing up for nurses and even certified nursing assistants.
What is a non-compete clause mean for nurses?
The non-compete clause is something as nurses we should be aware of. It is something now I will ask about, and read what I am signing. Employers will not always point out in the 30 pages your signing of new hire paperwork, that there is a non-compete clause included. They should tell you, but if you sign something saying they did, then you can see it will be a hard argument to make that you didn’t know. It is up to you to read, and decide if you want to sign it.
What is a non-compete clause?
If you haven’t ran into one yet then look out! They are becoming more frequent. When you sign a non-compete clause then you are basically agreeing to not compete with your former employer for a length of time, and within a certain geographic area. So, an example would be, you are working for a nursing agency, and they have a non-compete clause that states you cannot work for the facility itself, or any other agency that is staffed in the facility if you leave this agency. This is to protect the employer from their employees jumping around to different agencies and facilities, because they want to be paid also. They also have a business themselves they are trying to keep open. It is a contract for you the employee to follow. So please read it! It can specify all sorts of things, and you want to be sure you know exactly what your signing.
Should you sign one?
Well, that is a question only you can answer. If you don’t then odds are they are not going to hire you. So, if you’re really wanting to work at this particular place, or really need the job you might have to. It is still something you might be able to negotiate or not. You never know until you READ and ask. I signed one and knew I did, I just didn’t really take time to read all the details. Well, that was a mistake! The facility I was contracted, ended up being sold, and due to my non-compete contract, I will not have a job in a few weeks. At the time it didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I really wish now I would have done my homework. There were other agencies in the same facility that did not have these non-compete clauses. Learn from my mistake READ!
What happens if you break it?
There can be many things, the number one being they will sue you! That can mean a big pay day for the employer, and major damage to your wallet! If you are stuck in one of these contracts, then you can talk to your agency to see if they will let you out of your contract. Be sure to get this in writing. The other option is getting legal representation. Depending on what you signed this might be an option, but you can save yourself a lot of trouble just reading, and knowing what your signing. For me, they won’t let me out of the contract, so I am on the search for a new job!
I am not a lawyer, I am a nurse. Of course, I can’t give you legal advice! I’m just merely suggesting read what you sign. That’s actually good advice in most areas of life. You live you learn I suppose! If in doubt then obtain legal advice. Good luck!