Post-employment covenants not to compete (hereafter, “non-competes”) are frequently used in a variety
of high- and low-tech industries, ostensibly as a means of helping firms to protect their investments in
intellectual property and human capital. As currently sanctioned, however, non-competes impose
substantial costs on workers for which they are not clearly compensated. If firms are to be allowed to
continue to use non-competes, how can these be managed so as to minimize the costs to workers? The handling of employee non-compete agreements can be reformed to lower burdens on workers.