A new Senate bill would make your non-compete agreements worth less than the paper on which they’re printed.


By US Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Late last week, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to ban employers and employees from entering into non-competition agreements. According to a press release from Senator Warren’s office, the Workforce Mobility Act would accomplish not only prohibit the use of non-compete agreements, but would also force employers to communicate to employees that these agreements are illegal, and allow the U.S. Department of Labor fine employer violators.

No, Senators Warren and Murphy don’t like non-competition agreements. Here’s more from the press release:

“Non-competes rig the system against hard working people,” said Warren. “These clauses reduce worker bargaining power, stifle competition and innovation, and hurt Americans striving for better opportunities. I’m glad to join Senator Murphy to put an end to these anti-worker, anti-market agreements.”

 “Too many companies try to hide arbitrary non-compete agreements in contracts. This rigged system does nothing but hurt workers and stifle growth. People in Connecticut want to be able to change jobs and get better wages. Whether you’re a fast food worker or a tech entrepreneur, no worker should unfairly be at the mercy of their employers,” said Murphy.

According to the press release, the legislation would not affect an employer’s ability to protect its trade secrets. (The bipartisan Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which President Obama signed into law, allows employers to obtain relief in federal court against employees and former employees, among others, that misappropriate trade secrets.)

A few years ago, Senator Murphy and former Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced similar legislation, which was directed at eliminating non-competition agreements for low-wage employees.  That bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. However, the bill never made it out of Committee.

The odds of the Workforce Mobility Act passing this time around are about the same as the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl, i.e., pigs flying; i.e., zero point zero.

And, there I go burying the lede again. When will I learn how to write effectively?


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