I got an offer for internship and finally had the time to read the contract before I sign and fax it back.
I know this probably will be a standard item for full-time employment contract but I am just a little surprised to find it on an internship contract.
Basically, it says that agree not to solicit or perform consulting services for this company’s clients, recruit any of their current employee for 2 years after my conclusion of the internship.
I am a bit concerned because this company is a design consultant firm and they get clients from all over the place. I will need to find a job upon graduation. Will this limit my possibilities later? What should I do? It’s Friday and almost time for off-office hour. If I were to call them, it will be Monday. Since I have held this document for a week already, I want to return it ASAP.
All the instructors in school have left for spring break, so I am pretty helpless now.
Signing a NONCOMPETE like that seems a bit extreme for an intern. They are probably having you sign the same contract that their full time designers sign when they accept full time positions. You should bring up your concern with them and see what they say. If they’re relatively reasonable I don’t see why they wouldn’t alter it to fit your needs in this case.
Ok, here’s the full text (of course I have replaced the name of the firm to ABC):
During the term of my employment by ABC, and for two years after its conclusion, I will not solicit or perform consulting services for ABC clients or recruit, solicit or hire any current or former employee of ABC. Any clients with whom I have an established personal consulting agreement prior to this contract with ABC that are listed on an addendum to this agreement signed by ABC, and any clients not under agreement with ABC during my term of service with ABC are to be excluded from the restriction in the preceding sentence.
As you know consultancys do work for companies that have their own ID divisions, which will also be among my possibilities to be employed at when I graduate. Does this statement limit my chances? Does being hired by their current clients in the future violate this term?
As I understand it, it seems that it keeps you from being a consultant to their clients, but leaves the door open to work for them full time. You could clarify this with them as well. I would follow Guest’s advice and get a full client list though. If you want to freelance after (or during) school, you’ll want to know who is off limits.
yo is right. this probably won’t become an issue for you (though you’re right in being so dilligent about this). sure, the employer doesn’t want you to take what you learn about their work and process to their competitor, but you also have a right to earn a living. if this were to end up in court, you’d plead that your skills are in this area and so you have to have the right to work in this area.
While I agree that the chances of them taking him to court are virtually non-existent, I don’t think it’s a good practice to sign legal documents with the intention of disregarding them. What good are contracts if the people who agree to them feel no obligation to abide by them? This starts to tread in the same arena of signing an NDA and then not keeping the work out of sight until you’ve gotten the “OK” to show it…
M-cow, just call them up and let them know your concerns.
It wouldn´t hurt if you had a little conversation with a solicitor and asked him for the REAL tights this kind of contract imposes on you. I mean maybe they don´t even have the right to enforce this type of clauses in the end.
Remember that what you are asked to sign is most likely the “boiler plate” agreement for all employees hired by the company and typically gains relevance and teeth as the number of years of employment increases. Agreements like this are written as broadly as possible in order to establish an “on notice” expectation of behavior but the bottom line is that it can not be used as an instrument to prevent you from making a living, now or later, as long as the spirit of intent is understood. (to prevent a proactive pursuit of employer’s clients and design assets)
The idea that you have a desire to understand the expectations completely, so that you feel confident that you can fulfill those expectations, would tell most people that your moral compass is on due north. So relax and enjoy your design adventures.