On October 26, 2022, Russell Beck was a panelist for a Strafford seminar titled “Restrictions on Noncompetes: Recent FTC Developments on Wage and Hour Workers”
The presentation, a recording of which is now available online, is described as follows:
On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed the sweeping Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which, among other initiatives, “encouraged” the FTC to use its statutory rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility.” While efforts to curtail the use of noncompetes are not new, this latest executive action could signal increased momentum towards nationwide restrictions banning or restricting the use of noncompetes for workers in a wide range of industries.
he White House’s explanatory fact sheet clarifies that “the President encourages the FTC to ban or limit non-compete agreements.” A nationwide rule regarding noncompetes would be an unprecedented move by the federal government.
Previously, the states regulated noncompete agreements. Many–including Illinois, Nevada, and Oregon–have passed legislation limiting the enforcement of noncompetes by setting minimum compensation levels and time limits on the period of restriction. The Executive Order and accompanying fact sheet do not offer details on whether these are the types of limitations the FTC should consider.
Still, they represent common compromises that are short of an outright ban on noncompetes. In addition to President Biden’s Executive Order, the Illinois legislature passed new noncompete legislation in late May 2021. The new law will have significant changes for agreements and litigation in Illinois.
Although the FTC’s administrative rulemaking process regarding noncompete agreements has not yet been initiated, employers should immediately consider reviewing their workers’ noncompete agreements and employment policies for compliance with state law and with consideration of future possible federal action limiting the enforceability of such agreements.
The panelists discussed the following topics:
- History of noncompete regulation
- Biden Executive Order
- FTC possible regulations
- Future of noncompete beyond low-wage workers
- Best practices for employers in the future seeking to limit unfair competition and protect their businesses
A full program for the presentation is available here.
For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.
eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.
The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.
Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:
- Over thirty working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
- Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
- Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
- Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
- Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
- Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
- Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
- Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
- Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm
In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”
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