State legislators in Massachusetts have been debating the issue of employee noncompete agreements, which seek to keep employees from jumping to a rival, for at least seven years now. But despite Governor Deval Patrick proposing a ban on the contracts last year, nothing has changed.
Most employers argue that noncompetes are an essential tool for retaining top talent; some venture capitalists and entrepreneurs say they smother startup activity and make it hard to bring on the experienced people young companies need as they grow. The vast majority of workers don't pay attention to them — until they start looking for their next job or get laid off, and realize that a noncompete can limit their options.
Read MoreGood argument
“Our trade secret laws provide Massachusetts a competitive advantage over other states. It serves as an encouragement for companies to locate in Massachusetts,” said Richard Baker, president of New England Intellectual Property. The bill “will support the dishonest and wealthy competitors at the expense of smaller Massachusetts companies.”
It really is terrible when dishonest, wealthy competitors sneakily pay employees (including, we'll remind you, camp counselors) a competitive rate for their work. Why not just have a free market if you're going to go down that route? We definitely don't want that to happen in Massachusetts. DiscussNoncompete clauses don't belong in Massachusetts
Governor Deval Patrick will unveil new legislation this morning that addresses two issues with big potential to shape the future of the state's innovation economy: employee noncompete agreements, which limit worker mobility and the pace of company creation here, and visas for foreign-born entrepreneurs and the key early employees who can help grow startups into industry heavyweights. The Globe has a front page story this morning on the proposals.
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