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I think most non-competes are anti-competitive; ones like the one you cite are a scourge.
I don't know if you are being partly tongue in cheek about the additional compensation required to pay for people joining such a firm; in theory that is of course true. In practice, when the economy is down,when it is going through technology driven shift, workers don't often have much of a choice. Companies are frequently in a quasi-monopolistic position to stick it to employees, and regrettably, many of them choose to do so.
I don't think you're off-base at all in raising this issue, I think it is in general an abuse of employees.

I don't think I've ever heard of a company paying more in order to get people to sign/uphold a non-compete agreement. Also hasn't they been proved to not hold up in court???

There have been legal precedents that argued non-compete agreements must involve "consideration" (a quid pro quo like cash) to constitute enforceable completed contracts. I can recall receiving an extra $25 or so back in the Dark Ages for signing a non-compete with a Fortune 50 conglomerate. Don't know if that is still the law, though.

I think most noncompetes are simply devices automatically imposed because the employer needs to justify spending money on an attorney. Lawyers love to say NO (always the safest answer), so they tend to expand prohibitions, knowing courts will constrain them otherwise. No one is forced to accept a job with strings attached. Slavery remains illegal, people have a right to earn a living, and unconscionable restrictions won’t stand up in court. Still, companies have deeper pockets than most workers, so the threat of legal action WILL bind most people who sign those pledges. I also HAVE known them to be enforced by court actions in recent years.

Remember that state laws vary widely re Covenants Not to Compete, with some like CA virtually banning CNCs but most permitting them to be enforced "if reasonable."

(1) Anything breathlessly reported in the Huffington Post is pretty suspect to begin with, and (2) good luck finding a court that will uphold this.

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