Noncompete Agreements Massachusetts

Noncompete Agreements in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know

If you`re a Massachusetts worker, you may have heard of noncompete agreements. These types of agreements are becoming increasingly common in the state, and they can have a significant impact on your career. But what exactly are noncompete agreements, and how do they work?

In Massachusetts, a noncompete agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee. Typically, the agreement prohibits the employee from working for a competitor or starting a competing business for a defined period after leaving their job. The purpose of these agreements is to protect a company`s proprietary information, trade secrets, and client relationships.

Recently, the state has updated noncompete laws to limit their use and provide more protection for employees. As of October 1, 2018, noncompete agreements in Massachusetts must meet several criteria to be enforceable. These criteria include:

– The agreement must be in writing and signed by both the employer and the employee

– The agreement must state that the employee has the right to consult with an attorney before signing

– The agreement must be provided to the employee before a formal job offer is made

– The agreement must be supported by a legitimate business interest, such as trade secrets or confidential information

– The agreement must be reasonable in duration, geographic scope, and job restrictions

– The agreement must not be unduly burdensome for the employee

In addition, the law sets specific guidelines for how long noncompete agreements can last. For most industries, the duration cannot exceed one year. For low-wage workers, the duration cannot exceed six months. Employers must also provide “garden leave” or other compensation during the time the employee is restricted from working.

It`s important to note that not all workers in Massachusetts are subject to noncompete agreements. For example, workers in the broadcasting and news industries, as well as certain types of medical professionals, are exempt from these agreements. In addition, Massachusetts courts have been hesitant to enforce noncompete agreements for lower-level employees or those who do not have access to trade secrets.

If you`re considering signing a noncompete agreement or have already signed one, it`s important to understand your rights and obligations. Consulting with an experienced employment attorney can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and protect your career.

Overall, noncompete agreements can be a powerful tool for employers to protect their interests. However, Massachusetts has taken steps to balance the needs of employers with the rights of employees. By understanding the law and your options, you can make informed decisions about your career and protect your future opportunities.