Update: Massachusetts Lawmakers Decline to Change Noncompete Law, but Governor Presses On

Susan H. Hargrove and Francisco J. Benzoni

As an update to the previous article, Massachusetts May Go Boldly...Where Only California and North Dakota Have Gone Before, Massachusetts state legislators dropped proposed restrictions on the enforcement of post-employment noncompete agreements and the formal legislative session ended on July 31, 2014. As part of a larger economic development bill, Governor Deval Patrick had called for a complete ban on such agreements. The Massachusetts Senate had passed a version of the bill that included a compromise that curtailed the enforceability of, but did not completely ban, noncompete agreements. The House version of the economic development bill did not include any restrictions on noncompete agreements. The conference committee followed the House, passing a final version of the economic development bill that did not include such restrictions. In a surprise move, Governor Patrick recently reintroduced the compromise legislation passed by the Senate but dropped by the conference committee. (See House No. 4401) Because this reintroduction was outside of the formal legislative session, it is unclear whether progress can be made this year.

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