On May 2, 2022, a bill “limiting certain provisions in restrictive covenants” was introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly.  In recent years, similar bills have been proposed in various state legislatures.  Some such bills, after much lobbying, haggling and revisions, have even been enacted into law, including, for example, in Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington.

Continue Reading Proposed New Jersey Non-Compete Law Aims to Provide a Little Bit of Everything

The Wyoming Supreme Court recently made an important change to the way restrictive covenant agreements are evaluated by courts in that state.  For many years, courts in Wyoming – as in many other states – have followed the so-called “blue pencil” rule when presented with a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement whose restrictions appear to be unreasonable.

Continue Reading Non-Competes: No More Blue Penciling in Wyoming

Employers, take note: certain amendments strengthening Oregon’s existing statutory restrictions on non-compete agreements, went into effect on January 1, 2022 – as previewed in our previous blog post.  Coupled with existing limitations in ORS 653.295, the newly-effective amendments mean that a non-compete entered into with an Oregon employee after January 1, 2022 will be “void” ab initio if:

Continue Reading Friendly Reminder: New Limitations on Non-Competes in Oregon Are Now in Effect

Colorado statutory law has traditionally limited enforcement of restrictive covenants.  C.R.S. § 8-2-113, entitled “Unlawful to intimidate worker – agreement not to compete,” provides that all contractual restrictions on a person’s post-employment competitive activity are “void” unless they fit into one of four categories: (1) contracts for the purchase and sale of a business or the assets of a business; (2) contracts for the protection of trade secrets; (3) contracts providing for recovery of expenses of educating and training an employee who have served an employer less than two years; and (4) agreements with executives, management personnel, and their professional staff.  This statute applies not only to non-compete agreements, but also to agreements not to solicit customers or employees.  Most companies trying to defend their restrictive covenants do so under the exception to protect trade secrets or the exception for executives/managers/professional staff.

Continue Reading Small Change in Colorado Law Could Have Large Effect: Criminalizing Restrictive Covenants

Within the last year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brought its first indictments alleging criminal wage-fixing conspiracies and criminal no-poach conspiracies among competing employers.  In December 2020, DOJ indicted the president of a staffing company for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act by allegedly conspiring with competitors to fix wages paid to physical therapists.  A month later, DOJ indicted a corporation for violating the Section 1 of the Sherman Act because it allegedly entered into “naked no-poach agreements,” pursuant to which it agreed not to solicit senior employees of two competitors   In March 2021, DOJ filed its second wage-fixing indictment, which also alleged a conspiracy to allocate workers.  As reported here and here, these indictments were the culmination of the DOJ’s Policy, contained in its 2016 Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals (“Antitrust Guidance”) to bring criminal charges against employers who conspired to suppress wages, either through wage-fixing agreements or naked no-poach agreements.

Continue Reading DOJ’s First Wage Fixing Indictment Survives a Motion to Dismiss Because Court Finds Wage-Fixing Agreements Are Illegal Per Se

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2021 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Massachusetts,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Massachusetts, authored by our colleague David J. Clark.

Following is an excerpt:

This Q&A addresses enforcement and drafting considerations for restrictive covenants such as post-employment covenants not to compete and non-solicitation of customers and employees. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Download the full Q&A in PDF format.
Continue Reading Non-Compete Laws: Massachusetts – 2021 Q&A Guide for Employers

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2021 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees, co-authored by our colleagues Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark.

Following is an excerpt:

This Q&A addresses enforcement and drafting considerations for restrictive covenants such as post-employment covenants not to compete and non-solicitation of customers and employees. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Download the full Q&A in PDF format.
Continue Reading Non-Compete Laws: Illinois – 2021 Q&A Guide for Employers

On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which encourages the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to employ its statutory rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility.”  Executive Order, Section 5(g).  While the language in the Executive Order refers to the “unfair” use of non-compete clauses, the Administration’s explanatory statement makes clear that “the President encourages the FTC to ban or limit non-compete agreements” altogether.

A comprehensive rule governing non-competes would be an unprecedented move by
Continue Reading Biden Issues Executive Order Encouraging Federal Action to Limit or Ban Non-Compete Agreements

On February 25, 2021, the Workforce Mobility Act, a bipartisan bill to limit the use of non-compete agreements, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Scott Peters (D-Cal.).

This year’s Workforce Mobility Act is the latest of several attempts in recent years at the federal level to restrict non-compete agreements through legislation.  Despite bipartisan support at times, none has passed either the Senate or the House.  Will there be a different result this time around?

There may be
Continue Reading Another Bill in Congress Seeks to Limit Non-Competes – Will This One Go Anywhere?

A recent report issued by the Trade Secrets Committee of the New York City Bar recommends that New York State’s legislature adopt statutory guidelines governing the use of non-compete agreements for lower-salary employees.

As explained in the report, statutory limitations on the use of non-compete agreements have been a hot issue in many states and even at the federal level in recent years.  New York currently has no statutory law generally concerning trade secrets or non-compete agreements.  The report advocates a limited change to New York’s unique status as a common law jurisdiction, namely, “enactment of a statute to regulate
Continue Reading Will New York Enact a Statute Limiting Non-Compete Agreements for Lower-Salary Employees?