I recently wrote to my State Representative, Jonathan Hecht, to support banning noncompete clauses in Massachusetts. House Bill 1794 would abolish non-competes clauses in employment agreements and has been endorsed by those in the “Alliance for Open Competition” and other tech founders like Richard Tibbets of StreamBase. I believe changing the law in the Commonwealth to ban non-competes would help make our state more attractive to tech workers by ensuring their ability to make the best use of their skills and new businesses to hire the best talent. Even if they are rarely enforced they can contribute to a chilling effect that can make Massachusetts less competitive with states like California, where they are not enforced.
In reading up on the issue, I came across a few sites that I thought were interesting:
- Rep. Brownsberger, who sponsored the bill in the House, maintains a site with links to the legistlative proposal, discussions in the press and background information at the (unfortunately named but very useful): prohibitrestrictiveemploymentcovenants.net
- Bijan Sabet has an interesting interview with Harvard Business School researcher Matt Marx about effects of noncompetes agreements (and related Globe column by Scott Kirsner.)
- An article by Russell Beck, of Foley & Lardner, on what non-compete agreements actually mean. Michael Rosen, also of Foley Hoag, maintains an interesting blog about noncompete law and other labor & employment law in Massachusetts at massachusettsnoncompetelaw.com