Category Archives: At Will Employment

Quirky Question #212, Montana Non-Competes


We are an accounting firm and recently fired an employee at will.  We have always understood that Montana law disfavors non-competition agreements, therefore, our employment agreement provides that if the accountant provides services to our clients within six months of leaving, he will pay us the profits from such an engagement which are stipulated to be 75% of gross revenues.   Since our former accountant is not completely prohibited from competing, isn’t this agreement enforceable? Answer→

Closely Held Companies and Lifetime Employment, Quirky Question # 143

Quirky Question # 143:

I read with interest your analysis of QQ # 140, dealing with closely held corporations.  We are in a similar situation, though we have the sticky additional issue you referenced of the matter involving a family member.  This person claims she is entitled to “lifetime” employment.  Given that she’s only in her late 40s, that’s a daunting prospect.  Moreover, as her siblings will attest (if forced), she simply is not competent.  Does the company really have to employ her for the next several decades? Answer→

Privately Held Corporations, Quirky Question # 140

Quirky Question # 140:

We have a small closely held company. Our owners are family members and a few close friends. Happily, our company has been increasingly successful. Unhappily, one of our executives does not seem capable of growing with the company. We have made a difficult decision to get rid of this at will employee. When we advised him of this decision, he said that because he felt he had been treated unfairly for some time, he had spoken with a lawyer. He also told us that he is not truly an “at will” employee and that we owe him higher duties. He claims we have breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. What is he talking about? Answer→

At Will Employment, Quirky Question # 114

Quirky Question # 114:

We are a national company with operations in virtually every state.  We stress to our employees that they are employed “at will” giving them the right to resign at any time for any reason, and preserving our right to terminate their employment at any time, for any reason not prohibited by law.

Recently, an employee in one of our Montana facilities who had been working with us for about three years engaged in conduct that violated our company’s policies.  We fired him as a result.  He now contends that we did not have a “good reason” to fire him.  We told him that while we had one, we did not need a “good reason” to fire him due to our standard policy of at will employment.  He claims that at will rules don’t apply in Montana.  That can’t be, can it? Answer→