The June 3, 2013, issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features Russell Beck in an article about a recent Federal Court decision in Massachusetts. The decision involves a dispute over noncompete agreements and unpaid overtime.  The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Eric T. Berkman.

The article focuses on the former employees’ attempt to assert that they were owed payments for overtime work. Since the employees had already raised the issue in a separate case against them by their former employer for breach of their noncompete agreements, the federal court denied the employees’ claims on procedural grounds. The decision was entered in Brennan v. Sentient Jet, LLC.

In the article, Russell discusses the importance of having a well-drafted noncompete agreement:

Russell Beck of Beck, Reed, Riden in Boston frequently handles non-competition disputes. He said the case provides a cautionary tale for employers as well.

One of the key goals for lawyers in drafting non-compete agreements is to anticipate and head off all possible defenses, he said. Compensation is usually identified as at least one element of consideration for such an agreement, but that always gives employees a potential defense:  the failure to pay compensation as agreed.

Accordingly, Beck said, employers should consider whether they can provide sufficient consideration by way of a significant sign-on bonus, discretionary bonus, stock grant or some other consideration, and then using compensation as additional consideration.

“My view is that the best approach is [for employer’s counsel] to draft the agreement to identify all consideration, including compensation, that is in fact going to be provided and then inform [the employer] that it must provide the consideration, which includes ensuring that the employee is properly classified and paid,” Beck said.

About us

Beck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized; it includes:

  • Over sixteen years of working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (4th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2010), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete cases
  • Drafting and advising on the current bill pending before the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administrating the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administrating the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,000 members around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2012 Chambers USA Guide, which identified Russell as one of its “Notable Practitioners,” stating, “The highly regarded Russell Beck of Beck Reed Riden LLP has an excellent reputation for his work on trade secret and noncompete issues.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience at large law firms, working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and labor and employment. We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.