Can I be Held to a Non Compete if I am Laid Off?
If you live or work in Massachusetts, and you signed your non compete agreement on or after October 1, 2018, it cannot be enforced against you if you are laid off or fired without cause.
The Massachusetts Non Compete Act does not define "cause." A termination that is characterized as a layoff or reorganization should clearly protect you from enforcement of the non compete.
It is entirely possible, however, that employers will begin to frame individual terminations as performance related in order to preserve their rights to enforce the agreement, even in situations where they would otherwise treat it as a layoff. It is important for you to consult counsel early on if you are fired or believe termination is imminent.
If your agreement was signed before October, 2018, there are still limitations on enforcement that may help you in your job transition. If the employer has no legitimate goodwill to protect, if the restriction is too long and too broad, if there were material changes in your position after you signed it, and if the employer did not live up to its end of your employment arrangement, you many have valid defenses to claims against you based on that agreement.
Learn more here about non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.
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