The District of Massachusetts recently held that garden leave payments, whereby a former employee subject to a restrictive covenant is paid by the former employer for the duration of the restrictive period, do not constitute “wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act.

Continue Reading Federal Court Determines that Garden Leave Payments Under Massachusetts Non-Compete Law Are Not Wages, Limiting Former Employees’ Leverage Under Wage Act

Many restrictive covenant agreements rely on various abbreviations to streamline the contractual language, including most notably the use of “Company” as a stand-in for the employer’s name. Additionally, these agreements often state that they inure to the benefit of the employer’s parent, subsidiaries, and other affiliates. However, a recent case in federal court demonstrates the importance of carefully defining terms to best protect the employer’s legitimate business interests.

Continue Reading “What’s in a Name?” A Shortened Restrictive Covenant Duration, Perhaps

Cases don’t try very often. Doubly so in trade secret/non-compete litigation. So many of these disputes get resolved at the injunctive relief phase of the proceeding that, when one goes the distance, it is almost always worth peeking under the hood.

In MWK Recruiting, Inc. v. Jowers, No. 1:18-cv-444-RP (W.D. Tex.), a federal district court judge recently entered a judgment for $3.6 million—before fees and costs—against a former external law firm recruiter. The facts are not complex. A recruiter left his employer and joined a competitor. But before the recruiter left his former employer, he began using his personal email for candidate submissions and allegedly laundered six lateral candidates through the founder of his new employer. His former employer sued him and alleged that he misappropriated trade secrets and breached non-compete and non-solicitation covenants in his employment agreement. At trial, the district judge found in the plaintiff/employer’s favor on both claims and entered a $3.6 million damages award, with about $500,000 awarded under the misappropriation claim and $3 million under the breach of contract claim.

Continue Reading Lessons from a Staffing Misappropriation and Non-Compete Trial

In the sixth installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Dawn Mertineit and Robyn Marsh discussed tips and best practices for multijurisdictional businesses when it comes to restrictive covenants, including non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

As a conclusion to this webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:

  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to prepare a restrictive covenants
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! How Multijurisdictional Businesses Should Approach Non-Competes

webinar recap - texas trade secrets and non-competesIn the fifth installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Jesse Coleman, Matt Simmons, and Kevin Green discussed legal developments and trends in Texas trade secret and non-compete law and how it is similar to and diverse from other jurisdictions.

As a conclusion to this webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:

  • A restrictive covenant is


Continue Reading Webinar Recap! How and Why Texas is Different When it Comes to Trade Secrets and Non-Competes

federal non-compete ban legislationOn September 1, 2022, Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) introduced H.R. 8755, titled The Restoring Workers’ Rights Act (the “RWRA”), which would effectively ban non-compete agreements for non-exempt (low-to-mid wage) employees nationwide. If enacted, the RWRA would follow similar legislation in states such as Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and others that have imposed statutory income minimums that must be met in order for employers to bind employees to post-employment restrictive covenants.
Continue Reading California Representative Mike Garcia Introduces Federal Bill Barring Non-Compete Agreements

new jersey state flagOn May 2, 2022, the New Jersey Legislature introduced Bill A3715, adding to the growing number of states seeking to curtail the use of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements by employers. While passage of the bill is uncertain, A3715, if enacted in its current form, would make New Jersey one of the most inhospitable forums for employers seeking to enforce such agreements. Among a number of sweeping changes, including outright banning the use of post-employment restrictive covenants against a broad range of workers and otherwise limiting their duration to a maximum of 12 months, the proposed law further requires employers to pay 100 percent of the separated employee’s wages and benefits during the duration of the restricted period.

Key features of the bill include:
Continue Reading New Jersey Introduces Proposed Legislation Limiting Use and Enforceability of Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements

aesthetician non-compete lawsuitA Superior Court in Massachusetts has allowed an aesthetician’s lawsuit to proceed against her former employer after it sought to enforce her allegedly void restrictive covenant.

After being terminated by defendant Vanity Lab, the plaintiff and aesthetician Tori Macaroco established her own business providing aesthetician services. Macaroco then received a cease-and-desist letter from a New York law firm, citing the contract she signed as a Vanity Lab employee that contained various restrictive covenants preventing her from “solicit[ing] any employees or patients/customers of Vanity Lab, attempt[ing] to persuade any customer, patient, or employee from leaving Vanity Lab’s services, or reveal[ing] any of Vanity Lab’s confidential information.” The letter also stated that Macaroco was prohibited from practicing as an aesthetician for one year following the end of her employment with Vanity Lab. The letter further advised Macaroco that Vanity Lab would take legal action to enforce its rights in the event of a breach of her contract.
Continue Reading Aesthetician’s Proactive Suit Puts a Wrinkle in Spa’s Attempts to Mar Her Reputation

Nearly five years ago, the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNAA”, also sometimes abbreviated as the “MNCA”) went into effect. That statute ushered in new requirements for non-competes in the Bay State (including not only residents of Massachusetts, but also those who are merely employed in Massachusetts). Among the MNAA’s requirements is a forum selection provision that purports to require civil suits related to non-competes to be brought exclusively in the county in which the employee resides, or if both parties agree, in Suffolk county in Massachusetts.

Despite being in effect for nearly a half-decade, there have been relatively few published cases interpreting the MNAA (see here and here for a synopsis of a couple of those cases). Recently, however, a federal judge in Virginia weighed in on the statute’s forum requirement, determining that a suit against a Massachusetts employee could proceed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, rather than be dismissed and re-filed in Massachusetts.
Continue Reading Massachusetts’ “Provincial” Forum Selection Requirement May Not Trump Reasonable Foreign Forum Selection Clause

On March 8, 2022, Excel Sports Management, LLC commenced an action in the Supreme Court of New York, Commercial Division, alleging that its former Vice President of Basketball Partnerships, Eric Eways, resigned his employment in favor of employment with Klutch Sports Group, LLC, in violation of a restrictive covenant in his employment agreement. The non-compete, governed by New York law, prohibited Eways from working for Klutch and other specifically-named competitors for eight months post-separation.   
Continue Reading New York Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Denial of Preliminary Injunction and Enjoins Former Employee from Working with Rival Sports Management Agency