Testimonies were about 20:2 in favor of eliminating these clauses.
For more than a year, efforts to do away with noncompete agreements in Massachusetts have been steadily getting stronger. And for the local startup community in particular, that could be game-changing: Noncompetes, which prohibit employees from working for rival companies or starting their own competing ventures, are seen by many VCs and entrepreneurs as a dampener to innovation.
Community members voiced their concerns on the controversial subject this past Tuesday, June 23, during a legislative hearing held by The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce at the Massachusetts State House—and on the whole, it appears that the Bay State is making baby steps toward a ban.
For background, then-Gov. Deval Patrick introduced an economic development bill last April proposing to completely eliminate noncompetes in the state of Massachusetts, freeing employees to move between rival companies or even launch competing ventures. While the Senate came to a compromise on limiting the duration of noncompete clauses that July, the agreement eventually fell out of last year’s economic bill. Then, in January of this year, a series of new bills were filed in Massachusetts to limit these agreements, including one from Senator William Brownsberger and Representative Lori Ehrlich. Unlike the compromise attempted last year, this legislation proposed a full ban on noncompetes with very limited exceptions.