Colorado Poised to Dramatically Limit the Enforceability of Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants for Low-Wage Workers

Earlier this week, the Colorado state legislature voted to pass HB22-1317, which if signed into law by Democratic Governor Jared Polis, would place Colorado among several other states with the strictest bans on restrictive covenant agreements for low-wage workers. A spokesperson for Governor Polis has already indicated that the governor plans to sign the bill. If executed, the bill would become effective 90 days after the legislature adjourns (early August 2022), so immediate and very substantial changes appear to be right around the Rocky Mountain road.
Continue Reading Danger: Rocky Road Ahead!

In the third installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Justin Beyer and Ian Long discussed employee mobility and its impact on trade secrets and non-compete agreements, and shared practical steps that companies can take to protect intellectual capital in today’s market.

As a follow up to this webinar, our team wanted to highlight:

• Protecting
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Employee Mobility and Its Effects on Trade Secrets and Non-Competes

Last week, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division suffered back-to-back trial defeats in its recent enforcement initiative to use the Sherman Act to stop employers from using allegedly anticompetitive tactics to suppress wages and employee mobility. In the first case, the DOJ’s first ever criminal wage-fixing prosecution ended with not guilty verdicts. In the second case, a national healthcare provider and its former CEO were acquitted on charges involving allegedly illegal “no-poach” agreements.
Continue Reading DOJ Antitrust Division Suffers Back-to-Back Trial Defeats in Wage Fixing and “No Poach” Cases

Nowadays, it seems like non-compete legislation is being passed at a breakneck speed. We saw numerous new laws on the books in the last year, and dozens more are being considered in various states. Many citizens are in favor of tamping down on non-competes, and a fair number of practitioners (including many on the Seyfarth team!) agree that certain rules regarding restrictive covenants are reasonable and appropriate, including limitations on non-competes for low-wage workers and rules requiring some advance notice to incoming employees being asked to sign restrictive covenants. But some in the business community seem to be saying: not so fast.

Most recently, the New Hampshire legislature is debating a new bill introduced in January that, as originally drafted, would have invalidated non-competes if an employer required vaccination as a condition of employment and an employee refused to comply with the vaccine mandate. Introduced by a number of Republican representatives, this proposed law was an unsurprising reaction to the Biden administration’s vaccination push. While some in the business community weren’t happy with that proposed new law, they were willing to accept itbut are extremely unhappy with an amended and substantially broadened version of the bill that passed the House of Representatives just a few weeks ago. The amended bill would invalidate non-competes if an employer “makes any material change in the terms of employment,” perhaps a surprising move for Republican legislators, who are often pro-enforcement of restrictive covenants. This appears to be a clear nod to Massachusetts’ common law “material change” jurisprudence, a one-of-its-kind doctrine (at least for now) that requires employers to issue new agreements upon a material change in an individual’s employment—whether that be a promotion, demotion, change in compensation, change in responsibilities, or any other material change in the employee’s working conditions.
Continue Reading New Hampshire Looks to Jump on the “Material Change” Bandwagon—and Employers Are Pushing Back

On Wednesday, June 29, Robert Milligan—Seyfarth partner and co-chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes group—is presenting the “Noncompetes Under New State Law Restrictions” webinar for Strafford.

The panel will discuss the latest state legislative changes and case law trends regarding non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants in New York, California, Illinois, Washington, and other states and
Continue Reading Robert Milligan to Present Webinar on Non-Compete State Legislation for Strafford

A federal court in Texas recently provided useful insights on what constitutes “solicitation” by a former employee under that employee’s restrictive covenant with his former employer, and the court provided further insights on what inferences courts will, and will not, draw in favor of a plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction based on alleged misappropriation of trade secrets.[1]

The defendant worked for the plaintiff, Sunbelt, for over twenty years, primarily as a salesperson covering institutional customers.[2] As part of his employment, the defendant signed an employment agreement that, among other things, prohibited him from “solicit[ing]” Sunbelt’s customers or competing with Sunbelt within a certain geographic area.[3] He later left to join one of Sunbelt’s competitors. Sunbelt filed suit and sought a preliminary injunction, asserting that the employed had, among other things, solicited Sunbelt’s former customers, worked for Sunbelt’s competitor within the area prohibited by the non-competition agreement, and misappropriated Sunbelt’s trade secrets.[4]
Continue Reading Federal Court Provides Insight on Meaning of “Solicitation” and Plaintiff’s Burden on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

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In the third installment of our 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys will discuss employee mobility and its impact on trade secrets and non-competes. Learn best practices and practical
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! Employee Mobility & Its Effects on Trade Secrets and Non-Competes

On March 24, 2022, Washington state Governor Inslee signed into law Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1795 (The Silenced No More Act) (“ESHB 1795”). Washington now becomes the second state (after California) to render nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions illegal in employment agreements.
Continue Reading Governor Inslee Signs “Silenced No More Act” Prohibiting Nondisclosure and Nondisparagement Provisions In All Employment Agreements In Washington

Louisiana is not a fan of non-competes. Any employer who has employees in Louisiana is likely aware of that (or should be). Louisiana statutory code says so; case law says so; and now the Fifth Circuit has chimed in to add a little more food for thought on the subject.

In its recent unpublished decision of Rouses Enterprises, L.L.C. v. Clapp, 2022 WL 686332 (5th Cir. Mar. 8, 2022), the Fifth Circuit upheld the Eastern District of Louisiana’s decision that a non-compete was unenforceable against Rouses’ former Vice President of Center Store Merchandising, James B. Clapp II, because, when Clapp signed the non-compete agreement, he was not a Rouses employee, but merely an applicant who was later offered and accepted a job.
Continue Reading Employer Beware: When Louisiana Says “Employee”, It Means Employee

trade secrets uniquenessAs is often true in fashion, what once was old is now new again. But for famed wedding dress designer, Hayley Paige Gutman, she certainly is ruing the Second Circuit’s recent decision to revive its 1999 holding of Ticor Title Ins. Co. v. Cohen, 173 F.3d 63 (2d Cir. 1999). In JLM Couture, Inc. v. Gutman, 24 F.4th 785 (2d Cir. 2022), the Second Circuit held that JLM Couture’s non-compete was enforceable through New York’s oft-overlooked “uniqueness” exception. But the real question to me as a litigator is whether this doctrine should become part of the tool bag going forward. Upon analysis, the answer is somewhat mixed and going to be exceedingly fact dependent.
Continue Reading Is “Uniqueness” Getting a Revival?