As employment lawyers know, noncompetes are a hot topic these days.  Seems like they are being required of not just high level managers or high tech employees, but even clerks and fast food workers.

And some people — and states — are not particularly happy about this.

As the New York Times reports:

“In today’s on-your-own economy, workers are urged to be entrepreneurial job hoppers, constantly adapting and searching for the next opportunity.  But an estimated 30 million Americans — nearly one fifth of the nation’s work force — are hobbled by so-called noncompete agreements, fine print in their employment contracts that keeps them from working for corporate rivals in their next job.”

The Times just did a story about the efforts by various states to “untangle workers from these agreements.”

“Hawaii banned noncompete agreements for technology jobs last year, while New Mexico passed a law prohibiting noncompetes for health care workers. And Oregon and Utah have limited the duration of noncompete arrangements.”

Interesting development, and required reading for business owners, HR people and lawyers.