And brings into question, the validity of non-compete agreements. I have always wondered if non-compete agreements were completely fair. Often these agreements put workers out of an industry entirely. For example, a friend of mine is bound by just such an agreement here in Washington state. Her agreement says that if she loses her job at a tattoo studio, she cannot work for another tattoo studio inside the county for the next ten years. If she wished to continue to remain in the county with family and friends, or did not have the money to relocate.. she could not remain a worker in her area of expertise. Instead, she would have to change fields entirely. That is, effectively what non-compete agreements do. I also feel that they have a tendancy to put workers out of jobs more frequently than they protect corporations.
It is likely that Lee knew what he was doing before he ended his contract with Microsoft and entered a contract with Google, and I imagine that Google corp will likely lose this lawsuit, because Microsoft is not based in California and at the time the agreement was entered into, Lee was a Washington resident. But what it does bring to light, is the need of some form of federal regulation for employees so that workers all over the country have their rights protected.