Noncompete Clauses are Evil

“Traditionally, noncompete clauses like the one Kenny signed were found in contracts for white-collar executives or other high-profile employees who might have access to company trade secrets or develop personal relationships to clients. Businesses fear employees will leave and take those valuable assets with them to a competitor, so noncompete clauses help protect those companies.

But after the recession, when jobs were hard to come by and workers had less leverage to negotiate the terms of their employment, noncompete clauses started appearing in contracts for workers in low-wage or middle-income jobs like sandwich makers, and they remain a road block for everyone from hair stylists to security guards and house cleaners. The scope of their reach is difficult to determine because many workers don’t realize they’ve signed a noncompete clause until leaving a job. And though many courts are reluctant to enforce overly broad agreements, few low-income workers have the resources to legally challenge them.”

—Jared Bennett, “Noncompete clauses: They’re not just for executives anymore.” Center for Public Integrity. October 24, 2018.