Does a non-compete clause apply for my waitress job?

In the State of the Union address the president said that he wanted to make non-compete agreements illegal so that someone working in one fast-food restaurant can go to work for another one and make more money. I work as a waitress — does that apply to me too?

Regardless of your politics and with all due respect to the president, whoever wrote that line should be fired. It’s another example of policy wonks, opining on topics in which they have no practical knowledge. Non-compete agreements exist for only a small fraction of the workforce, and in several states are already prohibited.

Most exist as part of executive employment agreements where there are numerous conditions and considerations for both the employer and the employee, who agree to protect each other’s interests. Fear not. You can sling hash, spin plates, flip burgers, mix a mean cocktail in any establishment you like without fear of retribution or injunction. That was just nonsense politics.

Non-compete agreements mostly exist as part of executive employment agreements, not food service.

I hired someone who was 60 years old. This person didn’t perform well and after multiple conversations about his performance nothing improved, so I let him go. He is now suing me for age discrimination. How can that be?

No good deed goes unpunished. It might be because you can sue anyone for anything, and you can get a lawyer who will litigate over just about anything. (Yes, I went there. So sue me.) Just because you hired the person when they were 60, above the age that qualifies for age discrimination claims, you are not immune from being sued for age discrimination. Theoretically, you could have decided that you hired someone older than you should have, and because you are a mean, insensitive person you fired him. Insane, but possible. Unfortunately there are many instances of legitimate age discrimination claims, which might make an older worker assume that action was taken because of age when actually it had nothing to do with it. It sounds as if you have a strong case though — and don’t let it prevent you from hiring another senior. They are usually loyal, dependable, grateful for employment and excellent workers.

Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. Hear Greg Weds. at 9:35 a.m. on iHeartRadio 710 WOR with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. E-mail: Follow: and on
Twitter: @GregGiangrande

This article was originally posted by The New York Post.

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