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Funny thing about noncompetes: They protect employees, too

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in Human Resources

Rather than trying to wage a court fight over what increasingly looked like a losing battle, a local company has decided to settle with an employee who sued to enforce a noncompete agreement he had signed.

Roger Bannister was director of product development for the Bemis Company, a packaging firm. In December 2000, Bemis asked him to sign a confidentiality and noncompete agreement. It included a provision that if Bannister were terminated and could not find work consistent with his education and skills, Bemis would pay his salary for 18 months.

Bannister quit and attempted to take a job with one of Bemis’ competitors. Bemis blocked that move, citing the noncompete, so Bannister demanded compensation. When the company refused to pay him, he sued. The 8th Circuit ruled for Bannister.

Rather than appealing to the Supreme Court, Bemis wisely settled the case for just over $80,000.

(For the preliminaries on this case, see “Know what’s in that contract before you ask anyone to sign a noncompete.”)

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