In an unusual move for a newspaper, the two-page confidentiality agreement states: “I shall not solicit directly or indirectly, any person who is a SDUT employee or who has been employed by SDUT within the prior six (6) months for employment by, or any business relationship with, a competitor.”
The agreement says the restriction will be in place for two years after a worker’s employment ends.
The U-T is “asking a lot, especially in this climate,” said Bernie Lunzer, president of the Newspaper Guild. “I would expect it would make people very upset.”
The Newspaper Guild represented hundreds of employees at the U-T until 1998, when workers voted to kick out the union.
Garcia said the wording of the agreement is unusual because it forbids indirect solicitation. “I don’t know what it means to ‘indirectly’ solicit someone,” he said.
He added that non-solicitation clauses generally require that employees be given something in return for agreeing to them. The U-T confidentiality agreement states that the newspaper provides employment in return for signing the contract.
If the U-T asks an employee to sign the agreement while already working at the paper, the agreement states that “additional consideration, to be determined by the SDUT” will be provided.
In its legal sense, “consideration” refers to what a party to a contract gets in return for agreeing to its terms.
The confidentiality agreement apparently applies to both current employees and those who are being laid off.
Today is the last day of work for many of the 192 employees laid off by the U-T earlier this month, although they will be paid through July 6.
— RANDY DOTINGA
This article relates to: News