Following is a Press Release from the Georgia House of Representatives.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lindsey Thompson
August 26, 2008
Speaker Richardson Appoints Representative Kevin Levitas to Chair House Study Committee on Restrictive Covenants in the Commercial Arena
ATLANTA –Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) has appointed Representative Kevin Levitas (D-Atlanta) to chair the House Study Committee on Restrictive Covenants in the Commercial Arena.
“I am confident that Representative Levitas will be an asset to this study committee. He is an extremely diligent worker, and I know he will work well with the other Representatives appointed to this committee,” Richardson said.
House Resolution 1879 established the House Study Committee on Restrictive Covenants in the Commercial Arena to examine the proper functioning of restrictive covenants in today’s marketplace and to fulfill the legislature’s role in defining public policy in this area.
A restrictive covenant is an agreement between an employer and an employee (or an independent contractor) that limits the ability of a former employee to unfairly compete against the employer after termination of employment.
In the absence of clear direction from the General Assembly, Georgia courts have issued conflicting decisions and voided many of these agreements in their entirety, often on the basis of a strict reading of a technical defect in one part of an agreement.
Levitas said, “It is time that the legislature studied this issue in depth and provided clear guidance to the courts regarding the sustainability of these private agreements between private contracting parties and how to make them fair to all parties.” Levitas said that the study committee will examine court precedent and hear testimony from witnesses regarding the effect of the current state of the law.
“I am honored that Speaker Richardson has appointed me to chair this study committee,” noted Levitas. “The history and treatment of restrictive covenants in Georgia have never been fully studied before by the General Assembly. It is imperative that we carefully examine all aspects of this important issue so that both employer and employee can know their rights and duties after employment has ended.”
Levitas remarked, “Both parties need to know with certainty what they can and cannot do, and that is why legislation in this area is so important. In addition to providing certainty to the parties, clarifying the law will have a significant impact on Georgia’s economy and the ability of the state to attract businesses to this state and to keep them here.”
Levitas noted the he expects that the committee will hear from a diversity of witnesses with differing viewpoints on the subject. Levitas said that he intends for the committee “to bring together all necessary points of view and to gather all of the facts so that we can, once and for all, clearly define and bring certainty to this important area of the law.”
The committee will hold its first meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24, in Room 132 of the State Capitol. The other members of the committee are: Representative Tim Bearden (R-Villa Rica), Representative Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro), Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus), Representative Brian Thomas (D-Lilburn) and Representative Al Williams (D-Midway).