In The News

News - 2019

May. 2019

Chris O'Hara quoted in WSJ on emerging resistance to noncompete agreements

Christopher R. O'Hara was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article concerning the growing resistance in various states to noncompete agreements that make it harder for employees to switch jobs to industry competitors.

Various states have passed laws and pursued lawsuits in recent years eliminating barriers for employees who want to take different positions with other companies, according to the article.

Noncompete agreements have been traditionally applied to high-earning professionals to protect company secrets and intellectual property.  However, companies more recently have also applied these provisions to lower-wage workers, such as janitors, hairdressers, and dog walkers.

Mr. O'Hara told the publication that many low-paid workers don't challenge the provisions in court. "Most of these employers that utilize restrictive covenants never see the light of day in courtrooms," he said.

Mr. O'Hara in 2018 successfully represented Sonia Mercado, a janitor earning $18 an hour, in challenging a noncompete agreement that her former employer attempted to enforce against her when she moved to a competitor.

The company eventually agreed to drop the lawsuit and to pay a portion of her attorneys' fees.

Mr. O'Hara, a partner at Todd & Weld LLP, represents companies and individuals in a wide range of employment law matters.  He has litigated over 100 noncompetition and non-solicitation decisions in the Business Litigation Session in Massachusetts and in other state and federal courts.