Non-Compete Agreements

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2022 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois, co-authored by our colleagues Peter Steinmeyer and David Clark, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice.

Continue Reading Illinois Non-Compete Laws: Q&A for Employers, 2022 Update

Perhaps we were wrong. Or perhaps we were just not thinking creatively enough. After President Biden issued his “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” in which he “encourage[d]” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “consider” exercising its statutory rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility,” we assumed that Lina Khan, the 33-year-old Biden-appointed Chair of the FTC (and a vocal opponent of noncompetes), would take the torch and propose a Rule prohibiting, or at the very least severely limiting, the use of noncompetes. And she may still do so.

Continue Reading Companies That Use Noncompetes Face Increased Risk of Government Action Following FTC’s Unilateral Expansion of Its Enforcement Powers

It is no secret that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been largely unsuccessful in the criminal no poach cases it has brought to trial to date. Its most public loss came with the acquittals earlier this year of DaVita, a dialysis company, and certain of its executives in the District of Colorado. DOJ also lost at trial in another high-profile case in the Eastern District of Texas involving a physical therapy staffing company (although it secured a conviction against a company executive for obstruction of justice). But DOJ has pressed on, claiming victories at the motion to dismiss stage. Indeed, following its recent trial losses, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who leads the DOJ’s antitrust division, had this to say:

Continue Reading DOJ Secures Its First No-Poach Win with a Guilty Plea by a Healthcare Staffing Firm

Employers with employees in the District of Columbia have until Monday, October 31, 2022, to comply with a specific notice provision contained in the D.C. Non-Compete Clarification Amendment Act of 2022 (B24-0256) (the “Amendment”).

Continue Reading D.C. Employers: Have You Complied With the Non-Compete Clarification Amendment Act?

Now on Spilling Secrets, our podcast series on the future of non-compete and trade secrets law:

Non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable against lawyers, but there are some exceptions. In this episode, hear about employer options for restrictive covenants, including non-competes, non-solicits, and confidentiality agreements, for both in-house and outside lawyers.

Continue Reading Spilling Secrets Podcast: Non-Compete Agreements for In-House and Outside Lawyers

It’s no secret that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been struggling financially for well over a decade. One means of combatting its struggles has been to contract with third-party resellers to market USPS services and drive customers to it. Indeed, just one of those resellers, Express One, delivered over $3 billion in revenue to the USPS in the past 12 months alone. Although the annual operating budget of the USPS is $77 billion, $3 billion is still real money—especially since the USPS suffered losses of $6.9 billion last year.

Continue Reading Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night . . . Will Stop the U.S. Postal Service from Stealing Its Contractor’s Trade Secrets?

“The law is not a game, and . . . civil discovery is not a game of hide and seek. The decision in this case should encourage litigants to understand that it is risky business to recklessly or deliberately fail to produce documents, and perilous to disobey court orders to review and, if necessary, supplement prior productions. It is in the interests of the administration of justice to default [defendants] to send those messages.”

So said United States District Judge Mark L. Wolf in a 72-page decision in which he entered a default judgment as a sanction in a trade secret case against the defendants for what he referred to as “extreme misconduct.” Memorandum and Order on Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions, Red Wolf Energy Trading, LLC v. BIA Capital Mgmt., LLC, et al., C.A. No. 19-10119-MLW (D. Mass. Sept. 8, 2022).

Continue Reading Pennywise and Pound Foolish: Default Judgment Entered Against Trade Secret Defendants as a Sanction for Inadequate E-Discovery

Now on Spilling Secrets, our podcast series on the future of non-compete and trade secrets law:

An employer often overlooks training employees on what their restrictive covenant means and how to honor their confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation obligations. But this type of training can be critical for employers in protecting trade secrets and avoiding litigation in the future.

Continue Reading Spilling Secrets Podcast: Employers – Train on Trade Secrets

As our antitrust colleagues explained recently, on August 26, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its “Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022–2026,” as required under the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010.  Readers of this blog will be interested in two small, but important, items in the Strategic Plan related to noncompete agreements.

First, under “Objective 2.1: Identify, investigate, and take actions against anticompetitive mergers and business practices,” the FTC opines that “[a]nticompetitive mergers and business practices harm Americans through higher prices, lower wages, or reduced quality, choice, and innovation. Enforcement of antitrust laws provides substantial benefits to the public by helping to ensure that markets are open and competitive.” It then identifies certain “[s]trategies” that the FTC intends to pursue over the next five years, including “[i]ncreas[ing] use of provisions to improve worker mobility including restricting the use of non-compete provisions.” It’s unclear exactly what provisions it intends to increase its use of, but nonetheless the FTC will be focused on the issue.

Continue Reading The Federal Trade Commission’s Five-Year Strategic Plan Unsurprisingly Includes a Focus on Noncompetes