I live in Virginia but try to keep abreast of national developments on non-compete laws. Most people are aware that California has almost eliminated non-compete contracts in the employment arena. Now it looks like Massachusetts is getting into the action.
The current version of a bill under consideration looks awfully good to me and includes the following:
1. Non-competition agreements cannot be enforced against employees making less than $75,000 per year (adjusted upward by $1,500 for each year after the bill’s passage).
2. A one-year limit for the duration on non-competition agreements and non-competes lasting six months or less are presumptively reasonable.
3. The bill mandates that employees be given notice that of a required non-competition agreement seven days’ prior to commencement of employment, or when a written job offer is communicated, whichever is earlier. This prevents under-handed actions like handing the new employee the non-compete after he/she has already quit their previous job.
4. The bill mandates that a court shall award attorneys’ fees and costs to an employee if the court declines to enforce a material restriction in the agreement or finds that the employer acted in bad faith. This would prevent employers from placing unfair “financial pressure” on departing employees.
My Take: I don’t know all of the provisions of the proposed legislation from Massachusetts, but I really like what I see so far.