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In our current litigation-averse attorney-driven society, I think that what we think about the propriety or desirability of a legal document is totally irrelevant. We aren't asked, we have no authority over the decision and we have nothing to say about it except to shake our heads and cluck our tongues. Attorneys believe you can control actions with regulations and drive behaviors via contractual edicts. Read today's auto industry bailout plan. What can you do with people so far lost in space and time? But they're completely correct in their self-interested recognition that these steps enrich them, with jobs and fees and disputes to negotiate, litigate and sell out I mean settle.

Noncompetes stifle innovation and are bad for the U.S. ecomony. They are unreasonable restraints on trade and prevent hard-working, ambitious individuals from advancing their careers and feeding their family.

My law firm represents employees in nondispute and nonsolicitation disputes in Virginia. Your readers need to know that each state treats these contractual restrictions differently. We write about some of these issues on our Virginia Noncompete Law Blog which can be found at: http://virginianoncompete.blogspot.com/

T. Daniel Frith, III
Frith Law Firm, PC
303 Washington Avenue, SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
Phone: 540.985.0098
Fax: 540.985.9198
Toll-free: 866.985.0098

Great post! I have seen a definite upswing in employees being asked to sign non compete agreements as well as an increase in attempts to enforce. I think you make some very good points, and the reality is that most of the genuine concerns which motivate such agreements can be resolved/protected with a carefully drafted non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.

non-competes - easy to draw up, HARD to enforce...


Thanks, all, for the reactions and comments. Dan, thanks for pointing us to your blog for more information. Jill, thanks for sharing your own experience in this regard, sounds like you are seeing the same upswing in noncompetes that Workforce reports on - and I like your thought that most genuine concerns can be addressed sufficiently with NDAs or CAs. These, at least, aren't attempting to prevent employees from earning a living - which is a tough enough thing to do these days! KD - my opinion is that they are typically hard to enforce for very good reasons... but that's my opinion. Jim, agreed. And you did mean sell out, didn't you!

Moi? Perish the thought.

Non-competes = non-innovative.

+1 on the usage of confidentiality agreements in place of non-comps

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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