Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clear Channel tries enforcing invalid noncompete clause

Brenda Matthews is a longtime radio personality in Orlando. With the pandemic of rogue consolidations in the broadcast industry, Matthews eventually found herself employed by predatory broadcast giant Clear Channel. Clear Channel heartlessly eliminated her full-time job during the holidays last year - causing her to take a part-time job with the company, which paid so poorly that she qualified for food stamps. Now she's found a new full-time gig at another company.

But Clear Channel lapsed into Allowed Cloud mode and decided they weren't going to let her take a job elsewhere - citing a noncompete clause. In other words, Crap Channel was trying to meddle in her life after she no longer worked for them.

Wait! I thought Florida was a "right-to-work" state! As you know, "right-to-work" doesn't mean you're allowed to enjoy the, uh, right to work. "Right-to-work" laws are a tool of greedy union-busters to ban unions from having a security clause. It has nothing to do with the real right to work - which is being infringed on by Clear Channel fighting a former employee.

If you think radio personalities are nothing like other workers, think again. The business - especially today - isn't just glitz and glamour like everyone thinks. For most folks on the radio, it means long hours and sometimes less-than-stellar pay. The fact that a respected radio announcer who was in the business for years would have made only $10,000 this year after losing a full-time gig shows this.

There's several problems with the noncompete clause Brenda Matthews supposedly agreed to. For one, she signed it way back in 1996 at another station, which wasn't even owned by Clear Channel. For another, even if she had signed it with Clear Channel, it became invalid once they took away her full-time job.

That's why many states have banned noncompete clauses like this. However, Florida - the so-called "right-to-work" bastion - has not. In fact, the corrupt Nazis who control the Florida legislature have actually made it so noncompete clauses can be even more unfavorable to workers than before. Despite this, under Florida law, Crap Channel still has to prove Matthews caused them irreparable harm by working for a competitor. In other words, Clear Channel has no case.

If a company eliminates a full-time job and makes someone take a part-time job that pays just a fraction of what they were making, the company has no business complaining when the worker goes to a competitor.

The corporate world is like the student hierarchy in a bad private high school: A spoiled few who have had it easy their whole lives and take pleasure in lording it over everyone else rise to the top with little effort. People who have something worthwhile to contribute end up being relegated to a much lower status. I call it the Poolog Principle. High-ranking corporate executives are often the bullies of the modern business world. Shame on these bullies for treating respected longtime employees like shit.


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