Another potential complication should Gov. Asa Hutchinson succeed in turning Arkansas into a state full of computer coders. They might decide to work somewhere with a better competitive climate.
I found this article in Vox interesting. It makes the case that Silicon Valley grew and thrived — while a once-prosperous high tech area of Massachusetts faltered — because California, unlike most states, doesn’t enforce non-compete agreements. There was a lot of job-hopping in California. People not only jumped from one company to a competitor, they started up new companies. The results are well-known.
So what’s the situation in Arkansas? I quickly found this article on-line. It says we not only have a non-compete law (and courts have upheld such agreements), the legislature “greatly” expanded the law in 2015. It’s the work of Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. His Uncle Asa signed it.
Under the new law, employers have more flexibility in drafting non-compete provisions with the understanding that, if necessary, a court can modify a provision rather than invalidate the entire contract. Common law principles will still apply in terms of allowing measures to protect business interests.
Furthermore, an employer may find a broader scope allowed on geographical restrictions. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, courts have begun leaning that way, but not having been able to modify the terms of an agreement, have invalidated agreements in their entirety because their scope was not sufficiently defined.
If that sounds too restrictive, Silicon Valley still beckons.