Category Archives: Restrictive Covenants

“Non-compete agreements that are unreasonable as to temporal length, subject matter, and/or geographic scope will be found to violate both federal and state antitrust laws.”

That’s new — especially because it’s from Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Christine Wilson.

But, at the end, Commissioner Wilson observed, “The elected officials in each state are best situated to weigh the costs and benefits of non-competes and make decisions tailored to the unique circumstances in their jurisdictions. . . . A federal solution at this time is premature.”
Contracts containing restrictive covenants (noncompetes, nonsolicitation agreements, and the like) have been the province of state regulation for over 200 years. However, starting in 2015, the federal government has been stepping into the breach through proposed legislation (most recently two bills to ban all employee noncompetes and one to amend the FLSA to ban noncompetes for nonexempt workers), FTC review (starting with a workshop in January 2020), and an Executive Order (on July 9, 2021) “encouraging” the FTC to “curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses . . . .” While that’s not news, what is news is that earlier this week (September 14, 2021), the FTC issued a public statement that — if it is as broad as it appears — seems to presume that the FTC has authority to regulate these types of contracts.
If you’ve been following along with this series of posts, you know that there have been 66 noncompete bills pending in 25 states this year — plus three pending federal noncompete bills, D.C.’s new law to ban most noncompetes, and a bill to rein in D.C’s new law before it becomes effective (which is anticipated to be in April 2022). Today’s post discusses New Jersey’s proposed noncompete legislation.
The D.C. Council held two proceedings related to its recent noncompete ban last week. During both, at-Large Councilmember Elisa Silverman recommended pushing back the implementation date of the new law to April 1, 2022. During the hearing, the Council received wide-ranging testimony about a potential amendment: some objective, verifiable input and some partisan rhetoric; some spot on and some inaccurate. Now we wait.
This afternoon, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which included pushing for the regulation of noncompetes by the FTC. Based on his comments during today’s press conference (discussed in the post), we expect that any regulation will be balanced, focusing on regulating the abuses, rather than a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater wholesale ban.
Nevada too has modified its noncompete law. Effective October 1, 2021, among other things, noncompetes cannot be used for hourly workers and employers will be at risk of paying attorney’s fees for violating certain aspects of the law.
So far this year, there have been 65 noncompete bills pending in 25 states — excluding the two pending federal noncompete bills, D.C.’s new law to ban most noncompetes, and any proposed bills that are circulating, but have not yet been filed. Five bills have died — leaving the current tally at 59 noncompete bills still pending in 21 states. Today’s post covers the three bills pending in Oregon.
So far this year, there have been 65 noncompete bills pending in 25 states — excluding the two pending federal noncompete bills, D.C.’s new law to ban most noncompetes, and any proposed bills that are circulating, but have not yet been filed. Five bills have died — leaving the current tally at 59 noncompete bills still pending in 21 states. Today’s post covers the three bills pending in New York, including New York’s late-breaking proposal to ban virtually all noncompetes.