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Ah so which of the 52 states plus federal employment law does this refer to? - and in that case why is it rather hard to actually enforce a non compete without payment.

I may be referring to Massachusetts law. IANAL.

Contracts require consideration[1]. If we agree you will give me $400 tomorrow, that is not a contact. If we agree that I will give you $200 today and you will give me $400 tomorrow, that is a contract.[2]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consideration

[2] There are other components that make contracts legal; technically I'm only describing the consideration aspect.

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