Massachusetts Cases Reveal Breadth of Non-compete Law
This is an article of mine published July 16, 2012, that still remains relevant in the field of non-compete covenants and agreements that are still potentially enforceable in Massachusetts and many other states.
The article indicates that employers in many industries seek to protect themselves from unfair competition that would arise from employees using company knowledge or contacts to create or join a competing business, and that employees entering into employment agreements and later seeking to change positions need to be aware of the scope and coverage of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.
The article further indicates that to protect companies, Massachusetts law has long held that an employment contract can include a provision restricting trade or competition for the employee after the employment ends, if:
- The employer needs the restriction to protect its legitimate business interests
- The restriction is reasonably limited in time and space
- The restriction doesn’t violate public interest
What is reasonable depends on the facts in each case. The article then discusses three non-compete cases decided this year in Massachusetts which reveal how varied such cases can be.
My article also mentions proposed legislation to restrict or prohibit non-competes. Such legislation continues to be debated on Beacon Hill, but no change has been adopted – the case law remains the law of the Commonwealth. Former Governor Deval Patrick, in the end, did come to support a ban but Governor Charlie Baker has not yet taken a position, indicating he would consider any legislation that reaches his desk. See recent Boston Globe article, “”Non-compete debate flares up in tech sector again” –
- Are you an employer seeking to draft or enforce a non-compete?
- Are you are an employee or executive reviewing a job offer or employment agreement with a non-compete provision and need advice on terms or its enforceability?
- Have you been terminated or face termination and have similar concerns?
In any of those cases, if you have questions or need assistance, please let me know.