Tag Archives: Massachusetts noncompete law

Contracts containing restrictive covenants (noncompetes, nonsolicitation agreements, and the like) have been the province of state regulation for over 200 years. However, starting in 2015, the federal government has been stepping into the breach through proposed legislation (most recently two bills to ban all employee noncompetes and one to amend the FLSA to ban noncompetes for nonexempt workers), FTC review (starting with a workshop in January 2020), and an Executive Order (on July 9, 2021) “encouraging” the FTC to “curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses . . . .” While that’s not news, what is news is that earlier this week (September 14, 2021), the FTC issued a public statement that — if it is as broad as it appears — seems to presume that the FTC has authority to regulate these types of contracts.
A recent paper, “The Ethics of Noncompete Clauses,” by University of Georgia Professor Harrison Frye, expands the policy discussion around noncompetes, and argues for a more thoughtful analysis. As Professor Frye details, seeing noncompetes “as solely advancing the interests of employers is myopic.”
On Thursday, July 15, 2021, United States District Court Judge Hillman issued what I believe is the first (readily available, anyway) non-dicta, substantive decision on the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (the MNAA). Read more about Judge Hillman dismissal of a claim based on a nonconforming noncompete in KPM Analytics North America Corporation v. Blue Sun Scientific, LLC (C.A. No. 4:21-cv-10572-TSH).
So far this year, there have been 64 noncompete bills pending in 25 states — excluding the two pending federal noncompete bills, D.C.’s new law to ban most noncompetes, and any proposed bills that are circulating, but have not yet been filed. Five bills have died — leaving the current tally at 59 noncompete bills still pending in 21 states. Today’s post covers the four bills pending in Massachusetts.