The Obsolescence of the Non-Compete

The Obsolescence of the Non-Compete

In a previous post, I went on a bit of a rant about the reduction of the unit of work that people are expected to provide their employers.  I included the chart above and discussed how there’s been a steady (and increasingly rapid) movement from the 1920s-1970s mentality of agreeing to work for a firm for a lifetime to the recent trend in hiring subcontractors for months or even weeks.  I mentioned in that post that the legal community needs to evolve with the business community to continue this progression.  At the time I called out healthcare reform as a major necessity in this space; people need to be able to change jobs easier.

Yesterday on Pittsblog, Mike Madison raised another potential legal road block to a world where employees float effortlessly between companies as their skills and expertise are required; non-compete clauses.  Mike’s point is that the Pittsburgh small business lobby should begin arguing for a law change (similar to one in California) making non-competes not enforceable.  Mike argues that intellectual property and trade secrets could still be protected under other legislation.  I’m inclined to agree and I think this type of movement will be critical for an effective market economy in the 21st century.  Why shouldn’t the Pittsburgh/PA community be a leader in this space?

For the details read his Pittsblog post and for even more details read his post on his law blog.