In general, covenants not to compete involve an employee in the state of Massachusetts who agrees not to work for competitors of their employer when they leave the company. Such covenants are frequently called "non-compete" clauses". An employee who signs them either does so as a condition to employment or they may receive compensation for the agreement.
When are Covenants not to Compete Unenforceable?
Knowing in advance whether a judge will enforce an employee's non-compete clause can be difficult. Even if the employee's interests may be important Massachusetts courts will certainly assign great weight to a person's freedom to choose the type of employment that is suitable for them. Accordingly, only those covenants which are deemed to be reasonable will be upheld by the court. Those provisions that courts have seen to be unreasonable include those that last for an prolonged period of time or cover geographic areas around Cambridge that are unreasonably large.
Limitations on non-compete clauses must also be restricted to cover only competitors who are related in a rational way to the employer's industry. Lastly, the employer needs to have an acceptable business interest which justifies their motives in requiring their employee to sign a covenant not to compete.
Do I Need an Attorney when Dealing with a Covenant not to Compete?
Before signing anything that may restrict your rights, you may want to hire a Cambridge, Massachusetts attorney to review the contract. A lawyer can then negotiate to modify the covenant as needed, or may even draft a new one that is acceptable to both parties A lawyer can also render useful advice for employers who are considering suing an employee for breach of covenant, or they can counsel employees who have signed such an agreement.