No to noncompete clauses

I never sign contracts that contain noncompete clauses.

A noncompete contract prevents employees or consultants from working for a competitor to their employer or client for a period, often as long as two years, after the employment or contract ends.  No compensation for this restriction is ever offered.  A list of specific competitors is not defined, so it is impossible to tell how wide or narrow the restriction might be until the lawyers start calling.

I was once offered a one month contract, if I signed a two year noncompete contract.  The company was a startup that had not been in existence for a year.  They would not budge on this, so I turned down the work.

This issue is currently being actively discussed in the US state of Massachusetts.  This article Some common sense on noncompete clauses – by  Scott Kirsner explains why noncompetes are being considered harmful both to employees and to community productivity and prosperity. ( A follow-up article by the same writer, is extended and with a rich collection of links to other resources )

Ten years ago Joel Spolsky wrote this column on noncompetes and other evils that often hide in Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).   Some things change slowly in this business.

It is not very often that I am asked to sign a noncompete, but it can be awkward.  The early stages of contract negotiation are delicate.  I am hoping that posting this now, while there are no negotiations underway, will make things more straightforward.  My objection is not to your noncompete clause, but to everyone’s!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to No to noncompete clauses

  1. Juliet says:

    Your position is sensible and reasonable. I wonder how many people don’t notice non-compete clauses in a contract until it is too late. Fortunately it appears that such clauses are not often enforced.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s