Legislature Fails to Reach Compromise on Non-Compete Bill

By Andrew P. Botti

Although burning the midnight oil last night, a Joint Conference Committee failed to reach agreement on a compromise bill by the established deadline of midnight, July 31.

Among other differences, the House and Senate versions of so-called non-compete reform contained very different “garden leave” provisions.

The House version required 50% pay for a one year “sit it out” period, while the Senate version required 100% pay for a maximum 3 month non-compete period. The House version also allowed the parties to come up with another form of acceptable consideration to support the non-compete period.

The Governor indicated that he favored the House version of the proposed reform.

At this point, the issue of non-compete reform is off the table until January 2017, the start of the next legislative session on Beacon Hill.

Gabriel Care LLC vs. Borden Care LLC

By Andrew P. Botti

Gabriel Care vs. Borden Care

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court – Gabriel Care vs. Borden Care

Gabriel Care, LLC vs. Borden Care, LLC, & another
For the first time a case involving competing visiting nurse associations has been reported out of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Although by statute nurses are not subject to non-competes, there are still common law restrictions on what a present employee may do in preparation to compete.

“A duty of loyalty is imposed on an employee who occupies a position of trust and confidence.”  Gabriel Care, LLC v. Borden Care, LLC, et. al., 2016 Mass.App.Ct,  at page 10. With respect to a registered nurse who was planning to quit her current position with a foster care agency and start her own competing business, the Appeals Court held:

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Governor Puts Imprimatur on House Version of Non-Compete Bill

Joint Letter Image

Click the image above to read the joint letter from various Massachusetts businesses supporting H.4434 and objecting to S.2418.

By Andrew P. Botti

On Friday, July 22, 2016, the Governor’s office released the following statement concerning the various legislative reform bills recently promulgated by Beacon Hill lawmakers:

“The Governor favors the House version of the non-compete legislation because he believes it better balances workers’ abilities to seek new employment while ensuring cutting edge businesses can protect essential intellectual property. Finding the right compromise on this issue is essential to ensuring innovative businesses want to stay and grow in the Commonwealth.”

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Equal Pay May Be Coming Your Way: Mass House Votes to Approve Bill to Establish Pay Equity

By Andrew P. Botti

In a 158-0 vote, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to approve the so-called Pay Equity Act. The Act makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate “in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages,” or to pay someone of a different gender less for comparable work. The term “comparable work” is defined as work which requires substantially similar “skill, effort and responsibility,” and is performed under similar working conditions. These somewhat fuzzy concepts may present substantial liabilities to the unwary employer.

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Dodging the Bullet When Market Matters: Salesman Avoids Full Enforcement of Non-Competition Agreement with Ex-Employer

By Andrew P. Botti

A recent case out of the Superior Court Business Litigation session in Boston illustrates the Court’s inherent power – when sitting in equity – to fashion an injunction which appears fair to all parties, given the circumstances of the case. In Simplivity Corporation v. Hofdahl, the Plaintiff corporation attempted to stop an ex-salesman from working for a company which had developed a similar high tech software product. The salesman had signed a “Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement” which, among other things, prohibited him for one year after termination of employment, from:

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