Charlotte, NC asked in Employment Law and Civil Rights for North Carolina

Q: Can the company that I am working with now prevent me from leaving the company by asking other companies no to hire me?

I have been treated differently in my company, no promotion, and no pay rise during 10 years of working. I decided to leave the company. I found the job the fitted me very well. I was notified by the hiring companies that despite my qualification for the job they cannot hire me because they have an agreement with my current employer not to hire me (i.e., their employees). Can my current employer do that? If not, what should I do?

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1 Lawyer Answer
N'kia (NLN)
N'kia (NLN)
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: An agreement between two companies prohibiting one from hiring the other's employees is not strictly forbidden in North Carolina, although it must be written to comply with some fairly specific rules. Depending on how it is written and what purpose it is intended to serve, such an agreement may be called a "Non-Competition/Non-Compete," "Non-Solicitation," "Non-Poaching," or "Non-Recruiting/Recruitment" agreement, to name a few.

As for being treated differently, not all discrimination is unlawful discrimination. In the context of employment, discrimination is usually only unlawful if it is related to a protected class -- race, sex, disability, age, etc. Also, in most cases, a claim for unlawful employment discrimination must be reported and pursued within a short period of time. Otherwise, it is considered waived/forfeited.

With that being said, an attorney would need to evaluate the specific facts of your situation in order to be able to provide legal advice. For example, to be able to assess how just how enforceable the agreement between the two companies may be, an attorney would need to review the agreement itself. You might consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney about your specific rights and potential options.

Good luck!

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