Senate Bill 1287 strikes the language added in 2016 that shifted the burden to key employees and independent contractors to prove that they have no ability to adversely a ect the employer’s legitimate business interests as a result of their competitive employment. Consequently, when a breach of a non-compete is litigated in court, the burden will be back on the employer to prove its former employee’s competitive actions harmed the employer’s legitimate business interests.
Governor Otter allowed this repeal bill to become law without his signature. He wrote, “There is no consensus within the business community, or even within the community of technology-driven businesses, for this second change within two years to Idaho Code regarding non-compete agreements between employers and key employees or key independent contractors.” The governor further wrote that the issue can vary depending on the nature of each company’s business plan and whether management considers a “dynamic” workforce, with regular turnover, a positive or detrimental aspect of their business. The governor suggested that he saw little risk in removing the 2016 language as it had not yet been tested in Idaho courts. He also urged the Idaho legislature to take up the issue again in 2019, suggesting that perhaps the creation of a di erent less onerous standard on employees may be a good middle ground.