If the purpose of non-competition agreements is to preserve
companies’ ownership of specific technologies or intellectual property
developed by and legaly ownable by them, then non-competetion should be STRICTLY limited just to those items, and not allowed to effect a blanket and open-ended suffocation of further innovation by the employee (once he/she leaves the company).
If such properties cannot be enumerated effectively in advance
(in a manner fair to employee and company alike) then non-competion agreements might as well be eliminated entirely.
When I graduated from engineering school in 1970, companies recruited based on an expectation of having a decades long career with one company and invested heavily in training, sometimes with years long programs. In that circumstance, one might make a plausible argument that you were taking advantage of them if you left for a competitor. In the contemporary world, where people are told to operate more like a free agent and companies are loath to invest in them, I think the arguments for non-competes are unfair and counter-productive.
We all take our learned knowledge with us when we move on, and I think people understand what is confidential. We should not be restricting the opportunities for people to change jobs freely. Massachusetts has much to offer to companies that want to grow; we should do all we can to lure talented people here and build a future in our state.
Well taken — things have changed, the commitment of employers to employees is lower, yet, at the same time, the use of NC’s has escalated.
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