Will MA eliminate noncompete agreements?
Do you have commercial clients in the tech or life sciences sector? Here's an issue to watch. Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced his support for the elimination of non-compete agreements for workers in for workers in technology, life sciences, and other industries. His stance is that such agreements hinder innovation. Currently, California is the only state that has a law prohibiting noncompete clauses in employment contracts.
According to the Boston Globe:
"In exchange for banning noncompete agreements, Patrick wants Massachusetts to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which prevents workers from taking companies' intellectual property to other businesses but leaves them free to join or launch competitors whenever they want. Some 46 states, including California, have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, as well as Washington, D.C."
Employment Law specialists at Choate have issued a briefing about this issue: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Proposes Elimination of Most Non-Compete Agreements and Adoption of Uniform Trade Secrets Act that offers an overview of the proposed legislation, as well as what employers need to know do.
As of today, Choate says:
No changes to Massachusetts non-compete law have been made yet, but these legislative efforts underscore the need for employers to better safeguard their trade secrets, especially in light of a recent Massachusetts Superior Court decision holding that employers cannot successfully make a claim for trade secret misappropriation in the absence of efforts to preserve confidentiality.