Employers should be careful before defaulting to Delaware choice of law for restrictive covenant agreements. Historically, Delaware law presented a good option, particular for Delaware entities. However, a series of court decisions out of that state have severely limited the advantages of that approach.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would dramatically change the playing field for employers who have post-employment non-compete agreements with employees or have a practice of requiring such agreements as a condition of employment. The FTC’s proposed rule is open for public comment until March 20, 2023. Whether the FTC’s proposed rule (once finalized) will survive legal challenges is a hotly debated topic among members of the legal community, many of whom believe that Congress did not clearly empower the FTC with the authority to enact such a broad rule, and therefore the rule will not survive given the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in West Virginia v. EPA.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will hold a virtual public forum on Thursday, February 16, 2023, to address its proposed rule on the use of non-competition agreements, as well as certain non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements. The purpose of this forum is to examine the proposed rule and provide an avenue for individuals, including both employees and employers, to voice their opinions and discuss their experiences with non-compete agreements.
The Federal Trade Commission announced a proposed rule that would, if adopted, ban the use of employment-based non-competes and require employers to rescind existing non-competes. The FTC’s proposed rule would reshape large segments of the American economy and supplant numerous recently enacted state statutes restricting the permissible use of non-competes and other restrictive covenants. If the proposed rule becomes effective, employers will need to consider alternatives to protect customer and employee relationships, and confidential information.
2022 was a relatively quiet year in terms of noncompete developments. However, both state legislatures and courts continued to take steps to narrow the circumstances under which noncompetition and employee non-solicitation agreements may be enforced. As such, employers remain well advised to continue to: (1) be selective in identifying those categories of employees required to sign noncompete agreements; (2) rely on choice of law and venue provisions as allowed to maximize the chances of enforceability; (3) keep a keen eye on statutory developments; and (4) avoid no-poach agreements with other employers.
Los Angeles partner Mark Terman and associate Maria Cho have provided an annual update to a Practical Law article, entitled “Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Agreements (California).” In their article, Mark and Maria discuss how companies can protect their information, including the use of confidentiality agreements and related practices, under California law. They also outline practical tips on developing internal systems and contract provisions designed to protect a company’s sensitive information, including its business assets and relationships, data security and trade secrets.
Practical Law™, a division of West Publishing Corporation, provides legal know-how for business lawyers. It also acts as secretariat for the GC100 group of general counsel and company secretaries.