Recently, Communispace made an important change in our relationship with each of our employees. We decided to eliminate the non-compete portion of our employment agreements.
Non-compete clauses are commonly found in employee contracts. Their purpose is to prevent an employee from working for or becoming a competitor – or even from working within the same industry – for a specified period of time (usually a year or two) after leaving the company.
Why have we done this? As I told The Boston Globe, I believe strongly that non-competes restrict innovation by unfairly limiting the movement of ideas, energy, and talent. Everyone should have the right to choose where they want to work, whenever they want. Extending that right to our employees ensures that freedom.
In today’s fast-paced, high-tech, entrepreneurial innovation economy, progressive companies are starting to recognize the myopic limitations of non-competes. For example, Acquia has taken recent action to abolish non-competes in one form or another for their employees simply because these provisions aren’t fair. “There are cases where technical teams have worked for very poorly-run companies, going the wrong direction,” says Acquia CEO Thomas Erickson. “They build up a lifetime of expertise, but when they leave the company, they’ve been prevented from using that expertise and have to change their line of work and take salary cuts.”
There has been much debate on the topic of non-competes. California already has deemed them illegal. Washington state is looking to do the same. In Massachusetts, an effort to ban non-competes was nearly passed in the state legislature last year. Amid this debate, Communispace has taken proactive action; elimination of non-competes now applies to all our existing and new US employees, regardless of the state in which they reside.
We are proud to be on the right side of innovation by eliminating non-competes, and we look forward to seeing more companies join us.