Do restrictive covenants stifle employee productivity?

If you get paid by the hour, and not the task, is there an incentive to work any harder?

Some would say, No.

If you can’t take clients with you when you leave a job, or even contact them, is there any incentive to really fostering those great connections and relationships with those folks?

Some would say, No.

Harvard Business recently did a study on whether performance is stifled by the existence of non-compete agreements at work.

My thoughts on the study? I share this Florida attorney’s thoughts on the study — Richard Tuschman . Maybe the study is reflective of real life . Maybe not.

Maybe common sense tells us that when Generation Y folks anticipate changing jobs every 2-4 years, they are smart enough to save a little for themselves. Meaning, why go above and beyond to build relationships and turn business connections into real connections, if you have to pretend those people don’t exist when you leave a job?

I fully admit my bias. I don’t like non-compete agreements. I do not like them Sam I am. I don’t think they are necessary and my gut does tell me they stifle productivity. I also think people are pretty simple. Treat them well, pay them what their work is worth – and you create loyal employees. Belittle them with documents that categorize their years of work as someone else’s confidential information, use words like injunction and liquidated damages when defining the relationship, and we transform human relationships into rote, mechanical cycles.

People want to matter. And when you minimalize someone’s work by defining it in contractual terms, I doubt you will get their best.



Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at