Non Compete Agreements: Case Studies
Enforcing an agreement not to compete in Massachusetts is not always straightforward. Under Massachusetts common law, there were and are many defenses to these agreements available to employees. Below are just a few of the many examples of how we have been able to help employers and employees with disputes arising from agreements not to compete or not to solicit.
Employer's Failure to Pay Wages or Commissions
If the employer fails to pay wages or commissions as agreed, the employee may be released from their obligations under the agreement. This is based on a traditional principle of contract law. If one party materially breaches the agreement, the other may be excused from performance. Below are some examples.
Independent Contractors and Non Compete Agreements
In Massachusetts, it is not legal to classify an employee as an independent contractor unless they meet three very specific tests. One of these is that they are in the business of offering the same services to other customers or companies.
If you are an independent contractor with a covenant not to compete, you can argue that the agreement cannot apply to you because you are an independent contractor. You also may have a counterclaim for improper classification under the independent contractor laws. Below are some examples of people we have helped defend against an enforcement action based on their independent contractor status.
Overbroad and Unnecessary Non Compete Restrictions
A post employment restriction on competition must be reasonably necessary to protect the employer's legitimate business interest. Legitimate business interests generally require trade secrets, confidential information, or employer goodwill. Below are some examples employees we have helped resolve disputes where the employment agreements did not meet this requirement.
Early Resolution of Non Compete Disputes
Many non competition disputes begin with a "cease and desist" letter. This is usually a strongly worded letter from the employer's attorney sent after you have started a new job or a new business venture. It usually makes several demands, includes a deadline for response, and threatens a lawsuit.
Though these letters can be alarming, they usually present an opportunity to resolve the dispute before litigation. Below are some examples of people we have helped negotiate a resolution after receiving a cease and desist letter.
Can We Help You?
We have years of experience representing people in non compete lawsuits in Massachusetts state and federal courts, as well as responding to cease and desist letters, and we would be happy to help. You can use the button below to schedule a call back from a member of our team, give us a call at 781-784-2322, or fill out our web form to let us know a little more about your situation.
Need Help With a Non Compete?
"Emily, a chief partner, and the two other lawyers at SLN Law who worked on my case were extremely competent and approachable. They were responsive to inquiries and they thoughtfully explained, as needed, complex legal terms. I was very well represented at each stage of a protracted legal case against a major national firm." Brian R.
"Emily is an incredible resource of knowledge on employment law. She helped guide us on how to structure our employee classifications and made adjustments to our consulting agreements so our business is better protected and positioned. She's both law-savvy and business minded - great asset to have when launching/growing a business." Diana B.
"SLN represented me in a complicated employment-related dispute. What could have been a prolonged nightmare for me was handled swiftly and skillfully, and with fairness and dignity." Smita N.
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"After more than a year of discrimination and harassment in my previous position at a teaching hospital, I was finally at the point when I knew I needed help, otherwise I could break. Thus, I started to search Massachusetts Employment regulations, and one of my Google searches brought me to an advertisement for Emily E. Smith-Lee’s book “Rules of the Road. What You Need to Know About Employment Laws in Massachusetts.” It was my lucky day, and the start of my road out of the continued misery in my workplace... I would like sincerely to thank them both for their excellent job, and emotional support and encouragement. If you feel harassed, bullied, or discriminated against, Emily and Jack are the ones who will go out of their way to help you." Valentina W.