MA Noncompete Bill Has Been Re-filed

As confirmed here, a bill to reform the law of noncompetition agreements in Massachusetts, which died in the 2010 legislative session, was re-filed on January 19, 2011.  Rep. Will Brownsberger, one of the sponsors of the compromise legislation in 2010, stated on his website prior to the re-filing that it would "look like the last generation of the bill that came out of committee with a few additional changes that reflect input we have been getting."   

The text of the new bill is not yet available, but Russell Beck, an attorney who helped draft the legislation, has summarized the changes from last year’s legislation on his blog.  Perhaps the most significant changes are: (1) the salary threshold (which had been $75,000) has been eliminated; (2) garden leave clauses — originally part of the legislation and then later taken out — are back, enabling employers to impose up to a two-year noncompete if they are willing to pay for it; (3) the 10% compensation requirement as "consideration" for a mid-employment noncompete is eliminated, and in its place consideration must be only "fair and reasonable"; and (4) the safe harbors for employers to avoid having to pay attorneys’ fees are expanded.  

All of the changes appear to have been made to address concerns in the business community that the legislation was overly hostile to the interests of (enforcing) employers.

This blog will provide the text of the bill as soon as its available.

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