In light of Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to ban noncompete clauses, most of the talk around the controversial practice has focused on the tech sector.
That’s with good enough reason. The big companies in that industry are notorious for their use of the clauses, and with the conversation around noncompetes so focused on economic opportunity, the continued growth of tech as a staple of the wider Massachusetts business climate makes it a worthy battleground for the issue.
However, as the Boston Herald noted last week, they affect far more than just that one industry. Perhaps most grotesquely, teenagers working at the LINX summer camps in Wellesley are asked to sign noncompetes, which according to the Herald bar them from even babysitting for families met through the camp for a full year.
LINX defended the action to the Herald, claiming its training methods as the same sort of confidential intel that tech companies with noncompetes claim they worry about as well.
LINX President Joe Kahn said the company uses noncompetes because they train employees using their unique methods and have seen families hire their children's counselors mid-summer as babysitters.
"Much like a tech company would be protective of their technology and proprietary information, we're protective of our customer information," said Kahn.
The Herald story includes more instances of noncompetes in other industries and is worth a read if you’re interested in the topic. It’s a useful reminder that not just glamorous tech workers are caught up in employment and career limbo by these clauses.