By now, many employers are aware that Massachusetts law governing non-competition agreements is changing at the end of this month. A non-competition covenant or agreement is a provision in either an employment agreement, offer letter or separate agreement where an employer provides to an employee or independent contractor payment or some other consideration (for example a stock option or bonus). The employee or independent contractor in turn agrees not to compete for a period of time, customarily one year, after leaving the employment relationship. To date, whether a non-competition agreement is enforceable has been largely a matter of judicial discretion and we invariably looked to case law for guidance.
Now, after a decade plus of the Legislature considering the topic, we have a new Massachusetts law effective October 1, 2018, Mass. Gen. L. c. 149, §24L, setting forth a number of rules governing non-competition covenants.