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Career Resources - Enforceability of Non-Competes

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Enforceability of Non-Competition Agreements:
Courts Permit Former Employees to Work for Competitors

Three recent cases illustrate the types of inquiry courts will make.

Case One:
In the first case, the manager of a conference and exposition registration had a one-year non-competition agreement. The Massachusetts Superior Court declined to enforce the agreement because the employer could not prove that the employee had knowledge of any trade secrets or confidential information that would give the new employer any competitive advantage. The judge emphasized that a former employer cannot restrain an employee from taking her general skill and public knowledge to a competitor. (Danieli & O'Keefe Associates v. Braverman)

Case Two:
The second case, decided by the same court, allowed an employee who had signed a one-year non-competition agreement to work for a competitor despite the agreement. To protect the interests of the former employer, however, the judge enjoined the employee from using or disclosing any confidential information. (System Software Associates v. Trudo)

Case Three:
The Federal District Court for Massachusetts produced a similar result in this case. The judge allowed an employee with a non-competition agreement to work for a competitor of the former employer. However, the former employee could not to solicit customers of the former employer or to disclose confidential information. (Neeco v. Computer Factory)