Newscasts

PNS Daily News - September 18, 2019 


President Trump visits California, targeting its homelessness crisis and environmental protections; and Tennessee is a top destination for out-of-state women seeking abortions.

2020Talks - September 18, 2019. (3 min.)  


Interfaith Alliance's Connie Ryan and Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats on their differing views of religion's role in politics; and former Rep. Mark Sanford confers with cardboard cutout of President Trump.

Daily Newscasts

MA Tougher Non-Compete Law Could Spur Lawsuits

Inside courthouses such as this one in Boston, some are predicting a spike of litigation about the so-called “garden clause” in Massachusetts' new non-compete law. (Carol M. Highsmith/Public Domain Pictures)
Inside courthouses such as this one in Boston, some are predicting a spike of litigation about the so-called “garden clause” in Massachusetts' new non-compete law. (Carol M. Highsmith/Public Domain Pictures)
December 12, 2018

BOSTON – Massachusetts now has one of the toughest laws restricting non-compete clauses in work contracts, and it looks as though they'll be a lot less common at businesses in the state.

One reason is the so-called "garden leave," a unique part of the Commonwealth law. If workers sign a non-compete, the employer will have to pay them part of their wages after they leave the job to offset the inconvenience of leaving - and it applies to both employees and contractors.

Attorney Josh Davis, who specializes in employment law, said businesses are thinking twice about including non-compete clauses in contracts.

"The law makes them more expensive than they used to be," said Davis, director at the law firm Goulston and Storrs. "It's not something you just do anymore. For a long period of time, in Massachusetts and in other jurisdictions, it really was something that employers just did – you know, 'You want to work here? You need to sign this.' Now, I think there's a little more thought about who should be bound and why it makes sense."

Davis said a lot of business owners are asking whether the law applies to contracts that were signed before it went into effect on Oct. 1. The answer, he said, is no.

The law was passed in Massachusetts after complaints that non-compete clauses were being overused, making it much harder for people in many fields to find a job after leaving one.

In the new law, an employer who includes a non-compete clause can either pay 50 percent of someone's wages when they leave the job or a payment described as "mutually agreed-upon consideration." Davis said he thinks the issue could be how to define what that term actually means.

"There's some question about what this other 'mutually agreed consideration' language might mean," he said. "So, there could be a spike in litigation around that."

Massachusetts joins just a few other states that limit non-compete clauses. California still has the strictest policy, banning almost all non-compete agreements.

More information is online at masslive.com.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA