Non-Compete Trade Secrets Blog

Noncompete Reform Continues in New England: Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island All Pass New Laws Noncompete reform continues to crop up in New England. We previously wrote about comprehensive reform in Massachusetts late last year, and now three more states have passed legislation in recent weeks. All three states – Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – now prohibit employers from entering noncompetition agreements with low-wage employees, though the definition of “low wage”…
Maryland has become the latest state to revise its noncompetition law to clamp down on the practice and further restrict the types of workers permitted to be bound by such restrictive covenants. On May 25, 2019, SB 328 officially became law in Maryland, prohibiting employers from entering into noncompetition agreements with employees who earn equal to or less than (1) $15 per hour or (2) $31,200 annually. If you have employees who work in Maryland…
In 2016, the White House issued a report that expressed a call to action for noncompetition reform at the state legislative level throughout our nation. Since then, many states have tinkered with their noncompetition laws in an attempt to narrowly define when and under what circumstances an employer can subject an employee to a noncompetition agreement. For example, less than a month ago Washington State enacted a law that significantly restricts noncompetition agreements with employees…
A Company’s Facebook Snooping Didn’t Prevent Critical Trade Secrets Injunction Can a former employer’s alleged misconduct defeat a request for injunctive relief against former employees when those departing workers take confidential information and clients to another employer? A federal appeals court recently addressed this question in Scherer Design Group, LLC v. Ahead Engineering LLC and decided not to apply the “unclean hands” doctrine against the employer in a trade secrets case, clearing the way for…
Contractual Employee Non-solicitation Provisions Under Attack: Employer Loses Battle in Case Involving Unique Facts California’s prohibition against contracts that restrain a person’s ability to engage in a lawful business, profession, or trade is well-established and well-known. Ten years ago, in Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP (2008) 44 Cal.4th 937, the state Supreme Court confirmed that the only exceptions to that rule – Business & Professions Code section 16600 — are statutory exceptions, and rejected the…
Massachusetts Employers, Non-Compete Reform is Here!—How is Your Organization Addressing It? One month into Massachusetts’ new non-competition law, employers throughout the Commonwealth are learning what many predicted from the beginning—there are a lot more questions than answers. As Fisher Phillips previously reported, the new law adds several technical and substantive requirements that must be met in order to enforce a non-competition agreement. Today we spotlight a few issues employers must now grapple with. Who…
A federal appeals court recently ruled that an overbroad “no-rehire” provision in a settlement agreement with a former employee can be an unlawful restraint of trade under California law.  In Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group (July 24, 2018), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voided a settlement agreement between a physician and his former employer because one provision imposed a restraint of trade in violation of California’s strict statute on non-compete covenants, Business…
Enacted in May 2016, the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) created a new remedy that was not available under any state’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) – the ex parte civil seizure. This remedy permitted plaintiffs to obtain a seizure order ex parte from a federal court. Upon entry of the order, U.S. marshals would be dispatched, without notice to the defendant, to seize the evidence. The remedy is set forth in 18 U.S.C.…
It finally happened. After years of debate on Beacon Hill, Massachusetts law makers agreed to reform the Commonwealth’s treatment of noncompetition agreements as part of a number of bills passed in the waning hours of the 2018 legislative session. Among other things, the bill precludes enforcement of noncompetition agreements against non-exempt employees, limits their length to just 12 months, and precludes the use of “continued employment” as acceptable consideration. If signed by the Governor, the…
Attorneys general in ten states and the District of Columbia have recently launched an investigation into the employment practices of eight fast-food franchises. The group sent a joint letter to the companies requesting information on the companies’ use of restrictive covenants including “‘employee non-competition,’ ‘no solicitation,’ ‘no poach,’ ‘no hire,’ or ‘no switching’ agreements (collectively referred to as ‘No Poach Agreements’).” In October 2016, the White House issued a Call to Action to have these…