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The Massachusetts state legislature is working on a compromise over a long-debated issue: non-compete agreements. The compromise is coming months after Governor Deval Patrick proposed doing away with non-compete agreements altogether, a move that the state of California has already gone through with. Regardless of where the compromise lands in Massachusetts, it is important to consider both sides of the debate.

There are both pros and cons to the agreements for businesses and employees. For businesses, non-compete agreements protect the intellectual property of the company and is an added incentive for employees to stay with the company. Employers will also use them to protect their business interests and client lists.

For employees, non-competes can stifle an individual’s mobility. A marketable individual may not be able to accept competitive offers from within their industry because of their contracts, even if they have the talent that warrants the offer.

But non-compete agreements have wider implications. For Massachusetts commerce as a whole, non-competes can limit innovation because they hinder the ability for individuals to start their own company. The state is less likely to keep talented individuals when states like California offer the freedom to move between companies uninhibited.

Regardless of what the compromise looks like, non-compete agreements are changing in nature in Massachusetts. For consultation on non-compete agreements, contact Attorney David Dishman.

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