For some unknown reason that makes like absolutely no sense to me, the voters in Georgia yesterday, said yes to Amendment 1, which gives Georgia companies greater power to enforce non-compete agreements.
Now, thanks to the fine electorate of the State, the following is possible:
You sign a non-compete. It is ridiculous. You leave. You get sued. And now the judge gets to re-write and enforce terms of an agreement you DID NOT AGREE TO… sound fair?
At least a few folks understood the issue and encouraged votes to vote against the Amendment. Like this guy – a blogger who understands this new law will prevent start up companies from beginning in GA.
The proposed amendment is on the ballot with this wording: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?
Wow, that sounds like ponies and rainbows. Who wouldn’t want to make “Georgia more economically competitive” and why wouldn’t you uphold “reasonable” competitive agreements. I mean, they’re reasonable after all, right?
Well, that’s the problem. We are one of a few states where the judiciary is able to take a narrow view on non-compete agreements and by and large, these agreements are generally viewed as unenforceable. What that allows is for people to move from employer to employer fairly easily as well as leaving your employer to start a business within the same industry. If Amendment One passes, this freedom to do what you want to do will go away. Oh by the way, do you know what state doesn’t allow non-competes to be enforced at all? That’s right – California. Doesn’t seem like that’s caused a problem there.
Amendment One is being supported by interests who support big business. According to this video posted on Peach Pundit, Jobs of Tomorrow (which should really be called Only The Job You Have And No Other For Tomorrow and is chaired by the former CEO of BellSouth) which is leading the charge for Amendment One (to the tune of $1 million in public relations and media spending) is funded by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and has been supported by the Technology Association of Georgia (see here) as well as AT&T.
So Georgia voters, congrats.You got what you wanted, but I bet you didn’t know what you were voting for!
The moral of the story is, employees will be hurt at a time where the economy is already doing enough damage.
At least when folks call my office about VA law, I can tell them we are lucky not to live in Georgia!