Scales of Justice

Non-Compete Agreement Left Untouched by Economic Development Bill

In Boston, lawmakers decided not to include the restriction of the non-compete agreement in their Economic Development Bill session last Thursday.  The bill is meant to spur jobs in the region, and non-competition agreements were just one of many items up for debate.

According to the Seattle PI, Governor Deval Patrick said the state should restrict non-competes because they hinder the economy by stifling competition.  He proposed doing away with no-competes altogether and instead of moving ahead with the federal Uniform Trade Secrets Act in Massachusetts.

As was made obvious by the decision, Patrick didn’t have the support for the changes.  Other state legislators felt non-competition clauses facilitated an economy fair to both employers and employees.

How Does This Affect Your Non-Compete Agreement in Washington?

Although non-compete clauses can certainly be enforced across state lines, each state has its own policies in place regarding the limitations of such contracts.  Normally, the laws of the state in which the agreement was made will be the deciding factor.  However, you’ll need a Seattle contract lawyer to let you know for sure whether Washington state laws apply to your specific agreement.

As mentioned in a previous article though, Washington courts tend to uphold the non-compete clause more so than states like California.  Depending on your situation, this could work for or against you in a breach of contract lawsuit.  Ultimately, it comes down to the language in your contract.

Will Changing State Laws Impact Your Employment Contract?

Most business owners understand that contract law is nothing to be taken lightly, but with so many state courts taking opposing stands in the non-compete debate, it can make it difficult to have faith in your agreements.  When you retain a company attorney though, you will be notified of any important changes in the law that impact your business contracts.  A professional Seattle business attorney will be ready to review and amend your agreements as needed.  If you used a non-competition agreement sample form for your contracts instead though, they may not stand the test of time.

If you signed an independent contractor agreement or an employment agreement that contained a non-compete clause that you’re unsure about or if you’re facing a lawsuit for breach of contract due to a non-compete clause, please contact us.  Eric Helmy is a business attorney in Seattle offering services in contract review, drafting, enforcement, and defense.  Speak with a Seattle contract lawyer.

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