Is it legal for my employer to tell me that I could not do business with a competitor or I would be terminated?

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Is it legal for my employer to tell me that I could not do business with a competitor or I would be terminated?

I have not signed anything nor have I been asked to. I don’t understand how he can regulate my “off-the-clock” time.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your employer can ask you to do this but you have the right to decline. However, if you do and are an "at will" employee then you can be termiated for this. In fact, you can be fired for this reason, any reason or even no reason at all. The fact is that an employer generally can set the terms and conditions of the workplace as it sees fit. In turn, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not, their choice.

The above holds true unless: this action would violate a union agreement or employment contract; it is prohibited by existing company policy; or such treatment constitutes legally actionable discrimination.


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