Can my employer make me sign a document agreeing for me not work as an independent designer outside of work?

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Can my employer make me sign a document agreeing for me not work as an independent designer outside of work?

My boss just told me that they want me to sign a paper saying that I will not work at any other furniture store or interior design firm while working at my current job or work as an independent interior designer on my days off. Do I have to sign? If I do not they are going to make my life miserable, what can I do then?

Asked on May 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is legal for an employer to require employees to not have outside work--either at all, or at specific types of jobs or competitors--while they are employed, so the agreement is something they may lawfully require you to sign. If you are currently an employee at will (no employment contract protecting or guarantying your employment), your employer may take any action, up to an including termination, if you refuse to sign the agreement.


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