Massachusetts, after years of wrangling, finally passed a noncompete law that protects its workers against oppressive agreements amounting to virtual indentured servitude. The law went into effect October 1.
Here are some of the provisions of the Massachusetts law that could and should be adopted in Florida:
- No noncompetes for hourly employees
- No noncompetes for interns
- No enforcement of noncompetes for employees fired without cause or laid off
- No noncompetes for minors
- Continued employment alone is not consideration for a noncompete
- Noncompetes can't last more than a year, with the exception of an instance where an employee takes trade secrets
- Employers have to pay at least 50% of wages for the length of the noncompete period
These are very reasonable restrictions on noncompetes that simply don't exist under the anti-employee Florida law. What are some other restrictions that might be reasonable for noncompetes in Florida that don't exist now?
- Make employers give advance notice before the employee accepts the job. No surprises.
- Delete the (in my opinion unconstitutional) provision that courts may consider hardship on employers but not hardship on employees. Follow the states that consider employee hardship as a defense.
- Put severe restrictions on the level of employees that can be tied to noncompetes.
Noncompetes are bad for economic development, bad for wages, and bad for employees. If you think Florida should follow Massachusetts and other states in limiting abusive noncompete agreements, tell your candidates and vote wisely.