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Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses

Ars Technica - 1 hour 3 min ago

Enlarge / Jimmy Johns required employees to sign noncompete agreements, a practice it dropped in 2016 after a lawsuit. (credit: J. Hendron)

Tucked into an economic development bill signed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker earlier this month was a little-noticed provision that could have a big economic impact for Massachusetts workers. The language, introduced by state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, aims to rein in the abuse of employee noncompetition agreements in the state.

In a Thursday phone interview, Ehrlich told Ars that her work was motivated by hearing from hundreds of Massachusetts workers who had suffered from the abuse of noncompete laws. In one infamous case, a summer camp got a high school student to sign a noncompete agreement that effectively barred her from working at another summer camp the following year.

"We heard from people working at pizza parlors, yogurt shops, hairdressers, and people making sandwiches," Ehrlich said. "Those stories were incredibly compelling and really drove the narrative for change."

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