Why Massachusetts May Be Employee Heaven (At Least for Non-Competes)
In a remarkable shift, Massachusetts Governor Patrick's administration has now firmly aligned itself with employees' interests, publicly supporting a bill that would ban non-compete agreements (or at least find them unenforceable) in the State.
Here is the money quote from Patrick's Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Gregory Bialecki:
"Non-competes stifle movement and inhibit competition and we do not want that. The evidence is clear—we are not seeing the kind of spin-offs and starts up at the same rate that previously made Massachusetts an enviable model. Individual career growth is good for the Commonwealth: We encourage our talent to be creative, to be innovative, and to network with other talented people. Furthermore, we encourage employers to recruit talented people. However, we send a mixed message: providing the talent needed to support the kind of explosive growth we want in the innovation economy is considerably more difficult if employees are legally unable to move between jobs in the innovation economy."
All the news on this front is not bleak for employers, however.
First, there is no guarantee that the Massachusetts legislature will follow Patrick's lead and pass this legislation.
Second, Patrick's proposal does not neglect entirely the employers' right to protect its proprietary intellectual property, as Patrick has also urged the legislature to pass the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
It certainly will be interesting to see how this pans out - and whether any other states will follow suit.