- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Gov. David Ige has signed a bill into law that is meant to encourage growth within Hawaii’s technology sector and help bring in more high-tech workers.

The law, which took effect Wednesday, prohibits technology companies from requiring their workers to enter into “noncompete” agreements as a condition of employment. The change is supposed to make it easier for technology workers to change jobs, reported The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/1RghlSk).

According to testimony submitted to lawmakers, noncompete clauses are commonly used throughout the state’s technology sector.

The new law drew support from the High Technology Development Corp., as officials from the company said it would provide high-tech workers with more job options. It could also encourage the development of “spinoff” companies, which would increase the size of the technology sector, according to the group.

But those that oppose the law, such as the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, believe the law could potentially lead to the government interfering with the relationship between employers and employees.

“Some companies invest relatively large sums to recruit an employee, and they should be able to protect that investment,” the chamber said in written testimony.

Dave Erdman, president of PacRim Marketing Group Inc. and PRTech LLC, said his companies began using noncompete agreements years ago after several employees armed with potentially damaging proprietary information left to join competing companies.

“We protect ourselves from staff who will leave to directly compete with our firm, or work with a client or a competitor,” Erdman said in an emailed statement.

However, federal law already includes provisions protecting “trade secrets.” The new state law also allows companies to prohibit their workers from departing the job and using delicate trade information to compete against former employers.

Ige signed the bill into law June 26.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com


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