The Washington State House of Representatives recently proposed new legislation regarding non-compete agreements. This legislation would change the way Non-Compete Agreements operate in Washington State by making them unenforceable by default. Non-complete clauses are sometimes enforced arbitrarily without any real connection to business needs. As Washington courts allow, but do not favor non-compete agreements this has the tendency to lead to unnecessary attempts at enforcement or costly litigation. The new legislation is a move towards an approach more in line with California where non-competes are not allowed outside of a couple of narrow exceptions.
GeekWire interviewed Rep. Derek Sanford, one of the authors of the proposed legislation, who said “Taking away a person’s right to go find a new job – whether to take on more responsibility, or to get out of a bad situation, or whatever – is a tremendous demand which should never be regarded as just a standard contract clause.” When NCAs start to comprise a person’s right to find another job for the sake of corporate advantage, we must question our current legislation. Hopefully this bill will lead to a change in the way non-competes are structured, so that there is less uncertainty in how these agreements are enforced.
Read GeekWire’s entire article here. For a comprehensive overview about the of non-compete agreements, read Attorney Noah William’s blog post Is Your Non-Compete Agreement Enforceable?.
Finally, please note this is only PROPOSED legislation, it remains to be seen if this bill becomes a law.