On September 7, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court refused to enforce a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement between a Massachusetts company and its California-based former employee who joined the employer’s competitor in California. The SJC reached this decision, in Oxford Global Resources v. Hernandez, even though the agreement was expressly governed by Massachusetts law and designated Massachusetts as the forum for all disputes concerning the agreement.… More
After years of debate, the Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a comprehensive noncompete reform law, and Governor Baker signed the bill on August 10, 2018. The new law overhauls existing law and imposes new prohibitions and requirements for noncompetes signed by Massachusetts workers as of October 1, 2018. Every Massachusetts employer that uses noncompetes will need to change its agreements and practices.
As expected, yesterday (August 10, 2018) Governor Baker signed the new Massachusetts noncompete bill into law. A summary of the law is here. Although some industry groups were urging the governor to reject the bill or send it back to the legislature to correct flaws and ambiguities, he signed it without changes.
The law takes effect on October 1 and will apply to non-competition agreements entered into on and after that date. … More
After years of debate, the Massachusetts legislature late last night passed a comprehensive noncompete reform law. If, as expected, Governor Baker signs the bill in the next 10 days, it will take effect on October 1, 2018 and apply to agreements executed after that date. (It does not apply retroactively to existing agreements.)
As the summary below makes clear, the law represents a compromise between those who believe noncompetes should be abolished because they are fundamentally unfair to employees and bad for the Massachusetts economy,… More
The Massachusetts legislature ended its 2015-16 session last night without reaching a compromise on a bill to significantly reform the law of non-competition agreements in the Commonwealth. Negotiations continued late into the waning hours of the session, but legislators could not resolve the significant differences between the competing reform visions represented by the House and Senate bills. Early reports indicate that the final disagreement was focused on the garden leave requirement,… More
As expected, the Massachusetts Senate last night passed comprehensive legislation on non-competition agreements that imposes significantly more stringent requirements and limitations on noncompetes than is present in the legislation passed by the House two weeks ago (which already would significantly alter current law). The bill passed by the full Senate differs only slightly from the the proposal advanced by the Rules Committee earlier this week and described in this post. … More
The Massachusetts Senate’s Committee on Rules is advancing legislation on noncompetes that differs markedly from the bill passed by the House and described here last week. (Thank you to Brad MacDougall of AIM for bringing this to my attention.) The bill, S.2418, is structured similarly to the House bill, but has the following significant differences:
- Noncompetes generally would be limited to 3 months in duration,…
On June 29, 2016, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a comprehensive noncompete reform bill by a vote of 149-0. Given that the Senate last year passed a somewhat similar bill (but the legislation stalled on the House side), it seems quite likely that a new noncompete law will be passed by the legislature before the close of the current session on July 31. Whether the Governor will sign it is uncertain. … More
After falling off the radar recently, it appears that non-compete reform is back on the agenda on Beacon Hill. As reported by the Boston Globe, in a March 2, 2016 speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo voiced support for placing restrictions on non-competition agreements. Among the measures advanced by DeLeo were: (1) limiting the duration of non-competes to 1 year;… More
Late last month, the California Court of Appeal upheld a $180,000 award of sanctions against an employer for bringing a baseless trade secret misappropriation suit. While this case arose in California and involved California law, it involves concepts that have been recognized by Massachusetts judges and shows the possible consequences of the common impulse to file a lawsuit quickly and ask questions later.