FTC to hold a “public forum” on its proposed noncompete ban

On February 16, 2023 (from noon to 3:00 PM ET), the FTC will be holding a “public forum” on its proposed noncompete ban.

According to the FTC’s announcement, “The forum will supplement the FTC’s request for members of the public to submit written comments on the proposed rule . . . .”

Presumably to set the stage to justify the proposed rule, the FTC has arranged to hear from individuals “who have been subjected to noncompete restrictions . . . .” (Emphasis added.) I expect that we will primarily hear stories of what we would all agree are instances in which companies misused noncompetes.

The FTC has also arranged for “business owners who have experience with noncompetes” to speak. Given the phrasing and the nature of the arguments the FTC has advanced in favor of the proposed rule, my guess is that these business owners will not speak to how noncompetes are necessary for their businesses, but rather, will speak about how their businesses have been harmed by other companies’ use of noncompetes. We shall see.

Most importantly, the FTC is also taking live comments from members of the public via livestream. If you are interested, you can sign up through a webform provided by the FTC. (These slots “will be heard on a first-come first-serve basis during the time available.”) I expect the slots will be limited to very brief comments.

While I do not plan to offer brief verbal comments (as I will be providing detailed written comments), I will be watching and hope to see you all there.

*Thank you to Erika Hahn for finding the announcement of the forum .