Tag Archives: non-compete

Maryland Law Bars Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements Against Low Wage Workers

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.

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Employment Law This Week: Extended Podcast Edition – June 2019

In its new podcast series, Employment Law This Week has released an extended Monthly Rundown, discussing some of the most important developments for employers in June 2019.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Court Holds That All Those New Non-Compete Rules under Massachusetts Act Do Not Supplant Old Public Policies Applicable To Pre-Existing Agreements

When Massachusetts enacted the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNCA”) in mid-2018, many suggested then and thereafter that such statutes reflected an anti-employer tilt in public policy. But we advised at that time that the MNCA in fact appeared to present manageable options for sophisticated employers advised by knowledgeable counsel.   A recent federal court decision from the District of Massachusetts in Nuvasive Inc. v. Day and Richard, 19-cv-10800 (D. Mass. May 29, 2019), supports our earlier read, and belies the notion that Massachusetts courts see the Commonwealth’s policy requiring application of its own law to pre-existing non-competes.  So despite the fear that the statute would eliminate multi-state employers’ ability to rely on more favorable non-Massachusetts law when enforcing restrictive covenants, the Nuvasive court’s result and analysis gives employers hope that such fears were overblown.

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Private Equity Firm Uses AI Instead of Employees to Source Deals

A recent WSJ article about a private equity firm using AI to source investment opportunities by Laura Cooper presages a larger challenge facing employees and employers: AI tools do “the work of ‘several dozen humans’” “with greater accuracy and at lower cost.”  In the competitive and employee-dense financial services sector, AI tools can provide a competitive advantage.

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New Oregon Law Requires Employers to Remind Departing Employees of Their Noncompete Obligations

Pursuant to a recently passed Oregon state law (HB 2992), noncompete agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2020 will only be enforceable against Oregon employees if the employer provides the departing employee with a signed copy of the agreement within 30 days after the employee’s date of termination.  Though at first blush, this law merely codifies the best practice of reminding departing employees of their continuing obligations to their former employer, it contains a few nuances Oregon employers should keep in mind.

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Alleged Inconsistent Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements Raised in Discrimination Case

Employers sometimes ask whether it matters if they are inconsistent in their enforcement of non-competes.  Typically, the issue is analyzed in terms of whether inconsistent enforcement undercuts the legitimate business interest justifying the restriction.  However, in a pending lawsuit, Miller v. Canadian National Railway Co., the issue is being raised in a different context: whether alleged inconsistent enforcement was racially motivated.  Specifically, the plaintiff in that case alleges that “[b]y enforcing the non-compete against Miller and not against similarly situated white employees, Defendants are interfering with Miller’s future employment relationships because of his race.”

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Washington State’s New Law Limits Enforceability of Noncompetition Agreements

Non-competes are going to be harder to enforce in Washington State.  On May 8, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed the “Act Relating to Restraints, Including Noncompetition Covenants, on Persons Engaging in Lawful Professions, Trades or Businesses,” which was passed by both houses of the state legislature in April.

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New Guidance Issued by FINRA to to Member Firms

Our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green have a post on the Financial Services Employment Law blog that will be of interest to our readers: “FINRA Issues New Guidance to Member Firms Regarding Customer Communications When Registered Representatives Depart.”

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Hiring from a Competitor: Practical Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk

Thomson Reuters Practical Law published a Practice Note co-authored by Peter A. Steinmeyer and Robert D. GoldsteinMembers of the Firm, “Hiring from a Competitor: Practical Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk.”  This Practice Note discusses potential statutory and common law claims when hiring from a competitor, the need to identify any existing contractual restrictions a potential new hire may have, how to avoid potential issues during the recruitment process, ensuring the new hire is a “good leaver” during the resignation process, responding to cease and desist letters, and potential pre-litigation settlement concepts.

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No-Poach Clauses in Franchise Agreements: Four More Franchisors Agree to Drop Them and the DOJ Weighs In on Class Actions Alleging Antitrust Violations

On March 12, 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Little Caesars agreed to stop including “no-poach” clauses in their franchise agreements and no longer to enforce such clauses in existing agreements. A no-poach clause is an agreement between employers not to hire each other’s employees. The franchisors agreed to end this practice following an investigation by a coalition of attorneys general from 14 states into the use of no-poach clauses in fast food franchise agreements.[1] In a press release announcing the settlement, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh explained his concern “that no-poach provisions make it difficult for workers to improve their earning potential by moving from one job to another or seeking a higher-paying job at another franchise location, and that many workers are unaware they are subject to these no-poach provisions.”

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