Our Position on Non-Compete Agreements
“We believe in our people and want them to be successful here at Veeva
or wherever their careers take them.” – Peter Gassner, founder and CEO
Employee success is one of our four core values. We believe in our people and do what we can to make sure they learn, work with a great team, and build successful careers at Veeva or wherever they go.
The widespread misuse of non-compete agreements conflicts with our value of employee success. They restrict employees’ ability to pursue new opportunities and advance their careers.
About 30 million U.S. workers are impacted by non-competes. Many companies include these clauses in their standard terms of employment, realizing that most employees won’t read or understand the fine print. Employees often unknowingly sign contracts that could eventually be used against them as they pursue new job opportunities.
Employees should have the right to move freely between jobs, advance their careers, and improve their lives without fear of being sued by their former employers. We have taken legal action to fight these unfair practices that limit employees’ basic rights to work where they choose, and the California Court of Appeals has recognized our right to seek relief against non-California companies that we believe have misused non-compete agreements.
While many states have now limited the use of non-competes, differences in state law continue to be part of the problem. We strongly favor federal action to ban employment related non-compete agreements completely. This has now been proposed in a July 2021 Executive Order from the White House and the Federal Trade Commission’s January 2023 move to ban non-competes nationally. Veeva strongly supports intellectual property (IP) rights, which are protected through confidentiality agreements and trade secret laws. Non-competes are not necessary for IP protection and only serve to limit employee mobility and stifle growth. The free flow of talent fuels innovation and the economy. It’s been a key contributor to the founding and success of many of the world’s most innovative companies. At Veeva, we don’t ask employees to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment and we will not let a current or past employer agreement prevent us from hiring a qualified candidate.
What can you do if you have a non-compete or other overly restrictive employee contract presented as part of an offer?
Break the cycle. Join a progressive company that does not require you to sign a non-compete agreement and that will defend you against attempts to enforce your existing non-compete.
Don’t let the threat of a lawsuit derail your career. Most companies don’t take things that far, but a few may. The reality is that most non-compete clauses are abusive, overly broad, and not enforceable, even in the jurisdictions that allow them, and many confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses are equally over broad and abusive.
If you join Veeva, your responsibility is to return all data to your former employer and never share confidential information. If you do that, in the event your former employer pursues a claim, Veeva will provide for your full legal representation and help make the process as easy as possible. In the unlikely event a non-compete delays or restricts your work at Veeva, you will retain your position and your compensation will continue unaffected.
We are focused on building a special company that does the right thing by our customers and employees. Join us and don’t let a non-compete agreement stand in your way.
Veeva’s Work to Abolish Non-Competes
2007: Veeva founded; takes stance to never ask employee to sign non-compete agreements
2013: First defense of a Veeva employee in a non-compete case; defended many since
2016: Publishes stance against non-competes; calls on leaders and legislators to take action
2017: Files a precedent-setting non-compete lawsuit
2021: Work to ban non-competes becomes part of Veeva’s Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) focus
2021: Stance included in White House report on executive order to eliminate non-competes
2021: CEO outlines employee and economic benefits of proposed Federal action in Medium article
2022: Declares elimination of non-competes by 2030 as a formal goal of its PBC purpose
2023: Expresses support of proposed FTC rule to ban non-competes
- Veeva CEO Peter Gassner on Medium: Ban Non-Competes to Advance Employee Freedom, Innovation, and the Economy
- Reuters: Noncompete agreements violate US labor law, top NLRB official says
- Forbes: This CEO Thinks Noncompetes Hurt The Economy
- NPR: All Things Considered: Many workers barely recall signing noncompetes, until they try to change jobs
- The Economist: America’s trustbusters plan to curtail the use of non-compete clauses
- The New Yorker: What a ban on non-compete agreements could mean for american workers
- Federal Trade Commission: FTC Proposes Rule to Ban Noncompete Clauses
- Veeva CEO Peter Gassner on Medium: Non-competes are Bad for Employees and the Economy
- Finance & Commerce: Biden order aims to help workers
- Bloomberg Law: Noncompete Agreements Face Scrutiny from Courts Amid Pandemic
- NBCNews.com: Noncompete agreements allow bosses to chain workers to their jobs. We need to free them
- Office of Economic Policy U.S. Department of the Treasury: Non-compete Contracts: Economic Effects and Policy Implications
- Harvard Business Review: How Noncompetes Stifle Performance
- Veeva Statement: Supports FTC Move to Ban Non-Competes
“People have a fundamental right to make their own career choices. These decisions impact a person’s livelihood and professional growth and should not be dictated by lawyers and corporations. This is about trusting employees. No one is motivated to do their best work under a cloud of threats or when locked into a job.” – Peter Gassner, Veeva CEO
“Non-compete agreements are such a blunt tool to use when more narrowly tailored tools can suffice. For example, firms have nondisclosure agreements, which can prohibit workers from sharing information. They have trade-secret laws. The non-compete agreement is the most blunt of all of these, because it protects things by prohibiting mobility in the first place.” – Evan Starr, economist, University of Maryland
“By design, noncompetes often close off a worker’s most natural alternative employment options: jobs in the same geographic area and professional field. These restrictions can undermine core economic liberties, burdening Americans’ ability to freely switch jobs.” – Lina M. Khan, chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission
“I’m thrilled to see broad action being taken to curb these unfair agreements. All workers should have the liberty to move between jobs and be free to compete. Confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses can be as big a constraint as non-competes. Our research shows that these anti-competitive practices can hurt employee performance, reduce company innovation, and hinder the economy.” – Orly Lobel, professor of employment and labor law, University of San Diego
“Employees, employers, and economies can all suffer as a result of non-competes. The negative effects on wages, mobility, and job satisfaction can be substantial. In many, if not all, circumstances there are better ways to protect trade secrets than non-competes, which often just limit fair competition.” – J.J. Prescott, professor of law, University of Michigan
“Non-competes are meant to strike fear in employees and discourage competition. It’s clear that the free flow of ideas and employees from company to company can be a factor for new businesses and innovation. [Veeva’s] case could help limit practices that are clearly bad for employees and bad for the economy.” – Alan Hyde, distinguished professor of law, Rutgers University
“Our research shows that non-competes lower a person’s earnings power, not just at a point in time, but the negative impacts are seen throughout their career. Actions to limit the enforcement of employment practices that suppress growth and wages can be beneficial for workers.” – Mariko Sakakibara, professor of strategy, UCLA Anderson School of Management