Enforcability of Non-Compete When Going From MA to CA

I am in marketing for an established software company in MA and am moving to a more senior position in marketing for a start-up in CA. I have been doing marketing for a shipping product that has technology very similar to what I will be marketing for the CA company. The MA company does not have a history of enforcing non-competes. However, the company just merged with another and the incoming company's executive team is taking over and DOES have a history of enforcing non-competes. The MA company has been through three layoffs in the last 9 months and has a mass exodus of employees much more senior than I that are also going to companies that are more firmly competitors (the MA company has lost deals to these companies), but aren't being threatened with non-compete. I feel singled out given that I'm the only remaining employee in my department from the original (pre-merger) company.

The contract is very broad (geographic area is worldwide, restrictions are rather generic). It does require submission to an arbitration board as first recourse. Is it actually enforcable?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 13, 2001 4:33 PM [EST]  |  applies to Massachusetts

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Answers (1)

Judith Miller

Whether a non-compete is enforcable depends on a number of factors, including, the law of the state in which the parties entered into the agreement, the state law, if any, which the parties selectd to control the terms of the agreement, whether the new agreement is binding on the successor company, as well as the specific terms of the agreement and the job in which you are working. Generally, California law is much more favorable to employees in the area of non-competes than Massachusetts law, but, if the contract is governed by Massachusetts law, the court or arbitrator may be required to interprete the agreement under Massachusetts law. Arbitration is generally a good forum in which to resolve these disputes, particularly for employees, as it is usually a cheaper and quicker process than the court process.

posted by Judith Miller  |  Oct 15, 2001 10:41 AM [EST]

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