Quoting kevin lyda (kevin+dated+1041635588.9a70f0 at ie.suberic.net):
> but companies over there still put them in.
Obvious questions that come to mind:
Q1. Why do companies do it?
Q2. What should employees/contractors do, who know the provisions are bogus?
Q3. What should the general public / citizenry do?
A1. They do it because (1) the provisions gain teeth if the regulatory laws
barring their effect ever get repealed/modified, (2) the provisions gain
teeth if the employee ever moves / is transferred to a jurisdiction with
less stringent regulation, and (3) the company's most successful legal
conflicts are those where the other side fails to assert his rights
through ignorance and/or misdirection.
Most technical workers are grossly ignorant of business law, and hold
the unshakable (and quite mistaken) belief that anything they sign as an
alleged "agreement" or "contract" is rendered thereby real and
enforceable. Equally, most technical workers quiver in fear and
immediately capitulate when presented with a demand letter, or -- even
more ignominiously, a demand e-mail. This is, in part, because
they've never even thought about the possibility and have no idea
whether they're legally exposed or not.
Whereas, from a business perspective, legal clashes are always
inherently a cost-benefit proposition. Any ploy that effectively
asserts the company interest over those of related and unrelated parties
-- certainly including employees -- adds to shareholder value.
Therefore, an alleged "agreement" that misleads an employee into not
pursuing his rights without significant adverse consequences to the firm
is valuable, indeed.
A2. This is the awkward part, you see. Having pretty good grasp of
business law, and having researched California's regulation of
employment agreements, I briefly considered putting up an informational
Web page for the technical industry. I even envisioned it being
neutrally worded and diplomatic, eschewing entirely wording like "load
of fetid dingo kidneys".
And then I considered it from the viewpoint of game theory: Am I not
personally better off if I know my rights exceed those on the legal
deparatment's comedy-production paperwork, while $FIRM assumes I'm the
usual gullible technoid?` What happens when a prospective employer is
considering me alongside an otherwise equally qualified applicant,
Googles for my name, and finds a page that suggests to him that I'm the
corporate equivalent of what the military calls a "barracks-room lawyer"?
Is such a page what I want to be known for?
So, no Web page, not from me, anyway.
A3. Needless to say, I agree with you. Hang 'em high, I say.
 See .signature block.
 I've received several demand e-mails, and have always been
comfortable enough about my stance to laugh heartily. One was from
$PROGRAMMER, a rather surly and belligerent MTA author who shall go
nameless. I referred him to my attorney (solicitor, you would say).
Another was from $PRIOR_PRIOR_FIRM, whose CEO I told "That's the
emptiest threat I've heard in a decade." Others I just ignored.
Cheers, "It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us
Rick Moen in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so."
rick at linuxmafia.com -- Artemus Ward (1834-67), U.S. journalist
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