Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick recently proposed legislation that would ban noncompete clauses or agreements in all but a few circumstances — which would be a major change in the business landscape of the commonwealth.
Those who support the legislation point to California as an example. California does not permit noncompetes in most instances and the Silicon Valley high-tech industry has still thrived.
Supporters of noncompetes say such clauses or agreements encourage companies to invest in their workers. They also say that noncompetes are needed to prevent loss of trade secrets and investment costs in their employees.
The governor’s proposal is currently working its way through the legislature — it is not known if the proposal will be made into law before session ends on July 31, 2014. Whether or not this will become a trend among states also remains to be seen. A sea change on noncompetes would certainly affect the way companies do business.