In New Jersey, you can be fired for refusing to sign a non-compete agreement with your employer. It is certainly unfair, but it is not illegal. Absent a union contract or employment contract that prevents the employer from requiring you to sign a non-compete agreement, your employer can legally require that you sign the non-compete agreement in order to keep your job or be hired.
New Jersey is an at-will employment state. This means that your employer can fire an employee for any or no reason whatsoever and the employee can quit for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Accordingly, the employer can fire the employee for refusing to sign an agreement as it is not currently a violation of public policy in New Jersey.
Dated: April 13, 2010 – Castronovo & McKinney – Tom McKinney