Making Non-Competes Unenforceable

The law of employee non-competition agreements is a mess. Differing standards, unpredictability, and uncertainty within and between jurisdictions is the norm. This diversity of state law provides an incentive to forum shop, which leads to conflict of laws and parallel litigation. Conflict-of-laws doctrine, comity principles, and abstention doctrine all fail to satisfactorily address these problems. Uniformity in non-compete law, whether achieved through the uniform act process, a model act, or otherwise, is thus desirable. Moreover, a uniform rule of unenforceability would do the most to reduce the disadvantages of the diversity of state law and to facilitate the flow of commercial transactions because such a rule is discrete, easily applied, the least likely to be subject to interpretive changes over time, and promotes a free market in labor.