FTC signs MOU with DOL to “protect” workers

Much like its entry into the 2022 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now entered into an MOU with the Department of Labor (DOL).

Specifically, on August 30, 2023, the FTC and DOL entered into the MOU with the stated purpose of “strengthen[ing] the Agencies’ partnership through greater cooperation and coordination in information sharing, investigations and enforcement activity, training, education, research, and outreach.”

Lest there be any doubt, this new MOU (like the two others before it) is focused in part on noncompetes and other historically state-regulated agreements. Indeed, the MOU expressly states, “The Agencies share an interest in protecting workers who have been harmed or may be at risk of being harmed as a result of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Such methods, acts, or practices include . . .  the imposition of one-sided and restrictive contract provisions, such as noncompete and nondisclosure provisions . . . .” (Emphasis added.)

The collaboration is a signal.

Just as the prior collaborations were followed up with the FTC’s proposed rule, the NLRB General Counsel’s memo, and enforcement actions by each (FTC’s here and NLRB’s here), you can safely assume that the DOL will now be throwing its hat in the ring.

Stay tuned.