Author: Zachary L. Miller

Federal Trade Commission Issues Final Rule Banning Non-Compete Agreements, Prompting Immediate Litigation Blocking Enforcement. What Does It Mean For Your Business?

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule banning all future and most existing non-compete clauses, with few narrow exceptions for senior executives.  The rule, however, was immediately met with legal challenges, casting doubt on its future. The FTC has taken the position that entering into a non-compete agreement is an “unfair method of competition” within the meaning of the Federal Trade Commission Act, therefore rendering non-competes unlawful as a general matter. The FTC reasons that a non-compete ban was necessary to address conduct harming fair competition in the labor market, reducing wages, stifling innovation, and hindering business formation and entrepreneurship. Further, the FTC argues that the current state law approach, which assesses the enforceability of non-competes on a case-by-case basis, has not sufficiently addressed the competition concerns cited by the FTC. On the other hand, opponents of the FTC’s non-compete ban argue that the rule exceeds the commission’s statutory and constitutional authority and that non-competes are crucial in guarding an employer’s trade secrets, intellectual property, and significant investments in employee training and development. Key components of the final rule are: It is an “unfair method of competition” for any worker and an employer to enter into, or attempt to enter into, a non-compete clause, to enforce a non-compete clause,...

Proposed Nationwide FTC Ban on Non-Compete Clauses: UPDATE – Virtual Public Forum Scheduled for February 16, 2023

As we recently reported, in January 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed nationwide ban on non-compete clauses. The proposed rule would restrict employers from enforcing all existing and future non-compete agreements with their employees. The FTC announced that it will host a free and open public forum on Thursday, February 16, 2023, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST, examining the proposed rule and providing the public (workers and business owners) with an opportunity to ask questions, express concerns, and share their past experiences with non-competes. Attendees may register to speak at the forum on the FTC’s website. Registration to speak is on a first come, first served basis. Details about the forum and registration may be found here. The public may also submit written comments on the proposed ban through March 20, 2023, at Regulations.gov. Interested parties should monitor the situation accordingly and consider contacting the firm if they have questions about the proposed rule or seek guidance ahead of the forum and comment period deadline.

Proposed Nationwide FTC Ban on Non-Compete Clauses

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a proposed rule (“Rule”) that would effectively impose a nationwide ban on all existing and future non-compete clauses between workers and employers. By way of background, a non-compete clause is a type of restrictive covenant that prevents a worker from working for a competitor or starting a competing business, generally within a certain geographical area and time frame after the worker’s employment ends. The FTC’s position, as stated in the Rule’s overview, is that non-compete clauses prevent workers from leaving jobs, lower competition for workers, and reduce wages. According to the FTC, non-compete clauses also stop new businesses from forming, stifle entrepreneurship, and prevent novel innovation that would take place if workers were able to freely share ideas. On the other hand, proponents of non-compete clauses have historically argued, among other things, that they are necessary to protect an employer’s confidential information, trade secrets, and intellectual property and its often considerable investment in the training and development of  its employees. Non-compete agreements are currently subject to state law. Key components of the proposed Rule include: Providing that it is an “unfair method of competition” for an employer to enter into a non-compete clause with a worker, attempt to do so, or inform a worker they...