It looks like non-compete agreements are still the law of the land in Massachusetts. These employment agreements seek to prevent a person from taking her talents set from one company to a rival company for a number of months or even years. Some non-competes last for two years.
This is not good news to an array of VCs and other tech people who feel that restrictive non-competes stifle creativity. They supported legislation initially backed by Governor Deval Patrick to block or at least ratchet down non-competes.
But the amendment to an economic development bill that would have restricted use of the pacts, didn’t make it into final legislation. The proposed amendment would have nixed the use of these agreements for hourly employees and would have capped the agreements to 6 months in most cases.
According to The Boston Herald, a joint committee couldn’t work out differences between Senate and House bills and the amendment was held in conference. While it could end up as a separate bill, that was deemed unlikely by State Senator William Brownsberger, who authored the amendment.
Many in the startup world feel that the use of these agreements hurts the area tech sector since top talent often goes to California — which does not allow non-competes — to further their careers.
The Boston Chamber of Commerce and some tech players, notably Hopkinton, Mass-based EMC opposed the amendment. EMC has wielded non-competes against former employees in the past.