Massachusetts Moves to Ban Employee Noncompetes

Following California, Massachusetts appears to be moving closer to banning noncompete "agreements" in the employment context. Dawn Mertineit and Erik Weibust report in the Trading Secrets blog:

As the New York Times reported on Sunday, many of those who testified at the hearing opined that employee non-competes stifle competition.  For example, several legislators spoke of constituents who they deemed “trapped” in jobs because of non-competes signed years earlier, and insinuated that many employees are “ambushed” with non-compete agreements after they have quit their former jobs and rejected other offers.  The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have each recently published articles about the purported perils of employee non-compete agreements, both of which (as well as the New York Times article) referenced a summer camp in Wellesley, Massachusetts that makes its camp counsellors sign them.

I hope this trend continues and all states move to ban the fundamentally un-American practice of requiring an employee to give up his or her right to work in the future in return for an at-will job. At the very least they should be scaled back to apply only to the highest level of employees or those employees who truly have access to secret recipes or true trade secrets (no your rolodex does not qualify).  Current they are (at least in Texas) out of control and damaging to both employees and to businesses' ability to find quality employees in many fields.