Maryland recently joined the ranks of states with laws limiting the enforcement of non-compete agreements against low wage workers. Maryland’s recently enacted law (SB 328) bars employers from enforcing non-compete agreements against workers earning less than or equal to $15 per hour or $31,200 per annum.
In a nod to employers, the statute is carefully worded to protect low wage workers exclusively and “may not be construed to affect a determination by a court in an action involving” an employee whose earnings exceed both $15 per hour and $31,200 per annum. The statute only bars the enforcement of non-compete agreements (as opposed to other types of restrictive covenants, such as customer or co-worker non-solicitation agreements) and explicitly reserves employers’ right to enforce contracts prohibiting “the taking or use of a client list or other proprietary client-related information.”
The new law takes effect on October 1, 2019, invaliding past contracts as applicable and prohibiting any future agreements. In the meantime, Maryland employers should consider revising their non-compete agreements to conform to the new law.
This post was written with assistance from Jenna Russell, a 2019 Summer Associate at Epstein Becker Green.