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, and new defenses available for agreements signed after the Massachusetts Non Compete Act went into effect on October 1, 2018.
Every person's story is a little different, but there are lessons to be learned from people who have gone through similar situations.
Below are just a few of the many examples of people we have been able to help navigate non compete disputes. The names and images are fictitious, but the stories are real.
Non Compete Blocking Start Up Business
Mike, Jeff and Tim were sales representatives for a staffing company in Massachusetts. As they faced increasing challenges in the workplace, they began to consider starting their own agency. They made careful and thoughtful plans, and researched the idea thoroughly.
The one wall they kept bumping into was their non compete agreements. The agreements were extreme, and imposed restrictions for four years after employment. Read more here
Non Compete for Hair Stylist
Maria was a hair stylist employed by a salon that was part of a regional chain. She had a dream of opening her own salon, and was saving money to do so.
This was made more difficult by the fact that her employer had a practice of deducting a "product charge" from the commissions due for each customer. Read more here.
Non Compete and Changes in Pay
David and John were sales and service technicians for a printer company. They had each signed agreements with restrictive covenants at the beginning of their employment relationship. After an acquisition and change in management, the company made substantial changes to their compensation and terms of employment. In addition, the approach and style adopted by new management put significant pressure on David and John, and their relationship with management became strained and unpleasant.
David and John were both subject to non compete agreements. Read more here.
Non Compete and Independent Contractor Classification
Jason worked as a contractor for a telecom provider. He worked in Massachusetts but his employer was out of state. The employer classified him as an independent contractor but required that he sign a non compete.
The employer sent Jason a notice of termination of his contract while he was still owed money for services. The employer then objected to Jason taking a new job with a competing company based on the non compete clause in his independent contractor agreement. Read more here.
Repair and Maintenance Non Compete
Joe worked for a building maintenance company and was classified as an independent contractor. His work involved routine maintenance and repairs for buildings managed by the employer, which meant he was using his ordinary skill and experience in performing these services, not trade secrets or proprietary information belonging to the employer.
About a year into this relationship, the company insisted that he sign a non compete. Read more here.
Non Compete and Research Employee
Paul was an analyst for a market research company in Massachusetts. He did primarily back office work collecting and analyzing data. He did not interact with customers or prospective customers. His work also did not involve trade secrets or a proprietary methodology. Nonetheless, the company had him sign a non compete restricting his activities for a year after termination of his employment for any reason.
Paul was offered a job by a company in California that provided similar services in a similar market. Read more here.
Non Compete and Entry Level Employee
Ted was an entry level sales person for a regional telecom provider. This was his first job out of college, and he had no prior experience in the industry. After working for the company for a short time, the company changed his compensation plan and cut his commissions.
Because the job had become financially unworkable for him, he applied for other jobs. When he accepted an offer at a nationally known company, his employer sent a cease and desist letter and threatened to sue. Read more here.
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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, or give us a call at 781-784-2322.