Are Non-Competition Agreements Enforceable in Massachusetts?
In appropriate circumstances, Massachusetts courts will enforce non-competition agreements and prevent employees from competing with their former employers. Non-competition agreements can be part of an employment contract signed at the start of employment, or executed as a separate contract at a later date. A non-competition agreement is a promise by an employee not to compete against their employer for a specified period of time, and in a certain geographic location, after the employment relationship ends. Typically, Massachusetts courts will enforce a non-competition provided the employer can show: (1) the agreement is necessary to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer; (2) is supported by consideration, meaning both parties received something for executing the agreement; (3) is reasonably limited in all circumstances, including time and space, and; (4) is otherwise consistent with public policy. However, all cases are particular to their facts and the nature of the employer’s business. Courts will not enforce arbitrary agreements or if the employer has not taken other reasonable steps to protect itself.
If any of the above factors are not met the non-competition agreement is potentially void, or subject to substantial revision by a Massachusetts court. As a result, it is critical that any business or individual consult with a Massachusetts employment law attorney, prior to signing any non-competition agreement. If you have been presented with a non-competition agreement, or if you are an employer and need a non-competition agreement drafted for an employee, please contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon.
Our employment attorneys represent clients throughout Massachusetts and in every county of Massachusetts including Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Worcester County, Bristol County, Middlesex County, Plymouth County, Hamden County, Essex County and Barnstable County. Our Massachusetts employment lawyers represent businesses and individuals in Massachusetts’ largest communities including the cities of Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge, Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Lynn, and Quincy.
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