Kelby Fletcher Article Featured in PSBJ

Mar 07, 2018

Related Practice: Employment

An opinion piece drafted by Shareholder Kelby Fletcher was recently featured in the Puget Sound Business Journal. In the column, “Legislature should enact rules on noncompete agreements,” Kelby remarked that post-employment restraints (PERs), particularly noncompete agreements, restrain trade and undermine the notion of “at-will” employment.

He also noted that in Washington, most PERs are unnecessary because trade secret laws usually serve as adequate protection for former employers,  but every worker in the state, except lawyers, may be subject to a PER if there is a business necessity. Usually high-ranked employees who are more exposed to company confidential or trade secret information are more likely to be subject to an enforceable PER. However, Kelby stated that he has litigated against PERs imposed on carpet cleaners and hardware store counter clerks.

“There are no fixed standards as to what is reasonable, except for workers in the broadcast industry,” he explained.

To remedy this, Kelby called on the state legislature to enact guidelines for what is required in order to enforce a PER, especially for lower-paid workers.

 He closed with suggestions for both employers and employees regarding PERs. He noted that employers should determine if job candidates are subject to a PER and if their companies will be liable to the former employers. On the other hand, employees should understand what their obligations are with a PER and if it will have an impact on them moving to a new job.