Johnson & Johnson senior management has determined that all VP level and above employees must sign a non-compete or face termination. The agreements have a broad scope, and can prevent employees from going to work for almost anyone else that would be likely to hire them, given these are employees with years of experience in health-care. The non-compete periods are also extremely long, up to two years. Unlike most "garden leave" agreements, the agreement proposed by J&J will not continue to pay the employee during the time they are prevented from getting another job in their field. In short, these employees will be lucky to be able to find another job at a fraction of their current compensation. Senior management is concerned that the tightening job market will lead to rapidly increasing pay for employees with specialized skills and experience, forcing them to increase salaries to keep their most senior employees. Which would, of course, affect management's achievement of their bonus targets. By preventing employees from leaving for other pharma/healthcare companies, they believe they can keep salaries down and their bonuses intact. Because of the draconian nature of the agreements, they can also force employees to accept any terms of dismissal, including forfeiture of money due from J&J and pension benefits, in order for J&J to allow the employee to be free of the restrictions. J&J will also require employees in jurisdictions where the non-competes are unenforceable, such as California, to sign the agreements with a provision limiting their scope "to the extent" they are illegal in the hopes of having a chilling effect on these employees, and preventing them from taking out-of-state jobs. You heard it here first.