When employees believe they aren't bound by noncompete agreements, employers often receive little warning when those agreements are about to be violated. Most employees don't disclose to their employers when they are job hunting, and they may accept new positions without realizing, or having decided there should not be, an issue.
Non-compete agreements, also known as covenants not to compete, are common in many professions. These agreements bar employees from working within a specific industry for a certain period of time after leaving their job. Non-competes can also place limitations on what areas of the country a person can work. According to a recent New York Times article titled To Compete Better, States Are Trying To Curb Non-compete Pacts, roughly 30 million workers, or about 20% of the workforce, sign non-compete agreements as a condition of their employment.
Several months ago, a bill was introduced in the Maryland legislature that would greatly restrict the enforcement of non-compete agreements. While that bill has yet to be passed into law, several other states have now introduced similar legislation, which suggests that the idea of outlawing non-compete agreements is becoming more and more popular in various parts of the country.