FTC proposes new rule to ban non-compete clauses

Originally published at: FTC proposes new rule to ban non-compete clauses | Boing Boing


I hope they do make this change. Non-competes are total B.S.


It would be great if this happens. Just think of how much less people would have to spend on employment attorneys!


Especially the ones that try to stop someone from working for a different burgerchain.

Total BS, but the workers don’t have the resources to fight it.


To work for a biotech firm near Seattle we had to sign a non-compete contract which stated in unabashed legalize: “Upon leaving employment [party of the first part] shall not take employment in a comparable corporation within one hundred miles for the next one hundred years …” We all paused with our pens hovering and looked at the new CEO with incredulousness, to which he replied with utter sangfroid “Yeah… well, we don’t really expect that to hold up in court, but there it is.” We all signed it, and the company was gone as an entity (broken up and re-sold) within two years, …missing 100 by a spell.


“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“Probably at another company, what with the short life of most tech firms.”

– True things that should never be said out-loud.


Good, Non-compete clauses are BS. If you are a capitalist they are anti-free market. If you’re a socialist, they are anti-worker. Everyone should hate them.

If an employee is valuable enough you don’t want them working for the competition, then treat them right and pay them well and they won’t.


WOW, till today I hadn’t heard of a distance clause except for people in the dental industry where a chain of dental offices owned by the same company can effectively push an employee out of the county or even state should they want to work somewhere else. Super glad to hear that your gambit paid off and that covenant didn’t pin you down.


Where I live, noncompete clauses are basically unenforceable if it prevents you from pursuing your livelihood. Someone that’s built a career can’t be forced to restart their entire life over. If there are issues like theft of intellectual property or fruits of research, that’s a matter that can be pursued in civil court.


I used to be an employment attorney. My boss had a saying: “The only point of a noncompete clause is that it exists.” In other words, they’re basically always unenforceable (even in my conservative Southern state) and the only reason to include one in a contract is as a scare tactic/deterrent.


My wife worked for a fast food franchisee for many years ending up running all his stores until one day he came in and said, “oh, by the way, I sold all the restaurants, the new owners will be contacting you.”

The new owners were the largest franchisee in the country. The put so much pressure and stress on her she decided to put her feelers out.

She had an awesome reputation inside that particular fast food restaurant, all the other franchisees we’re well aware of her qualifications but none of them would hire her.

She did not have a contract, they all did. Their contract with the mother ship said they could not hire an employee from another franchisee.

In other words they made her a party of their contract without her consent.

We had an attorney at the time for a business I was involved in, he said of course it’s messed up but she would never win and never mind the cost to go after the corporation and individual franchisees.

Eventually one small franchisee worked something out with the large franchisee and she finished her career as their district manager.

Big corporations playing games with people to keep them in line.


If you’re a capitalist then you probably don’t give a crap about workers. And you don’t care about free markets either unless you’re the small capitalist trying to get share from the big capitalists.

Only if you’re a worker hoping to become a capitalist are capitalist grounds why you care.

On one hand, this sounds like a good thing because non-compete clauses are obviously bullshit.
On the other hand, I wonder what’s prompted the FTC to make this move, because I (cynically) doubt it was bought about by their love of workers rights.


The current chair, Lina Khan, is an expert on antitrust and competition law. Her article on Amazon during law school primarily criticizes on their anticompetitive practices but also touches on their labor abuses.


As I understand it, EU/UK side they’re unenforceable because there’s no ‘consideration’ on the employee’s side. Once they quit, it’s a 1-sided contract.

The result being that they’re enforceable as long as you’re on payroll.


Am I the only one who saw this headline and thought it read, " FTC proposes new rule to ban subordinate clauses"?


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.