The May 2016 report from the White House says research suggests 30 million American workers are currently covered by non-compete agreements, and enforcement of them apparently is rising.

Obama Administration Eying Non-Compete Agreements

A May 2016 report from the White House says research suggests 30 million American workers are currently covered by non-compete agreements, and enforcement of them apparently is rising.

A report released May 5 by the White House says research suggests 30 million American workers are currently covered by non-compete agreements, and enforcement of them apparently is rising. They aren't being used solely for highly paid professionals or executives, it says -- about 15 percent of workers who lack college degrees are covered by non-competes, and recent media coverage indicates they are being used among low-wage workers including fast-food workers, warehouse workers, and camp counselors, it states. But engineering and computer/mathematical occupations do have the highest prevalence, at slightly more than one-third, of non-compete coverage, it says.

The report says that, as part of the Obama administration's efforts to support competition in consumer and labor markets, the White House, Treasury Department, and Department of Labor will convene a group of experts in labor law, economics, government, and business to discuss non-compete agreements and their consequences. "The goal will be to identify key areas where implementation and enforcement of non-competes may present issues, to examine promising practices in states, and put forward a set of best practices and call to action for state reform," as well as to prompt additional research on the use and effects of non-competes, it says.

The 16-page report is a summary of non-competes as currently used, not a detailed analysis; it briefly discusses how non-competes can depress workers' wages and limit their mobility. It discusses bans of non-competes for certain occupations or limits on their scope by several states, including Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah, while California's legislature has made non-competes generally unenforceable there. Idaho has passed a bill to restrict non-competes to "key employees," who are defined as those who "by reason of the employer's investment of time, money, trust, exposure to the public, or exposure to technologies, intellectual property, business plans, business processes and methods of operation, customers, vendors or other business relationships during the course of employment, have gained a high level of inside knowledge, influence, credibility, notoriety, fame, reputation or public persona as a representative or spokesperson of the employer, and as a result, have the ability to harm or threaten an employer's legitimate business interests." And a bill to be considered next year in Washington state would make non-competes void if the employee is a seasonal or temporary employee.

It also cites a Treasury report that found at least 37 percent of workers are asked to sign a non-compete after accepting a job offer, when they have less leverage to bargain because they already may have turned down other job offers.

While the administration plans to identify best practices and issues, "Ultimately, most of the power is in the hands of State legislators and policymakers in their ability to adopt institutional reforms that promote the use and enforcement of non-competes in instances that appropriately weigh their costs and benefits and in ways that provide workers appropriate levels of transparency about their rights," the report's conclusion states.

Download Center

  • Industrial Premium Library

    Empower your workforce with the manufacturing, industrial maintenance, operations, HSE, compliance, and professional development skills they need to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Not only will you boost productivity, reliability, skills, and morale but you’ll also onboard faster, and retain your best employees while meeting regulatory standards. Vector Solutions offers over 1,800 award-winning eLearning courses designed to keep your employees safe, transfer knowledge of fundamentals, and develop industry and job-specific skills that reduce downtime, maintenance costs and more.

  • Safety Metrics & Insights Webinar

    EHS professionals have been tackling the subject of how to best measure performance for many years. Lagging indicators like the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t forget about the leading indicators that your workforce does every day to prevent incidents from occurring. Learn about some of the most common KPIs of safety programs and how Vector EHS Management software can be used to track these metrics in this webinar.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively. Download this guide for details on risk matrix calculations including severity, probability, and risk assessment.

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program

  • Vector Solutions

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022

    Featuring:

    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
    • MACHINE GUARDING
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
    • EHS SOFTWARE
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue