Colorado Creates Income-Based Threshold for Noncompetition and Customer Nonsolicitation Covenants

A new Colorado law effective August 10, 2022, voids noncompetition and customer nonsolicitation covenants with certain employees who work or live in Colorado, depending on their level of compensation. The new law potentially subjects noncompliant employers to significant penalties and voids any provision in violation of the statute.

HB 22-1317, signed into law on June 8, 2022, amends Colorado’s existing noncompetition statute, C.R.S. § 8-2-113, for agreements entered into or renewed on or after August 10, 2022. The new law comes only months after Colorado enacted a criminal statute making violations of the state’s noncompetition statute a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 120 days in jail, a fine up to $750 or both.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Washington, D.C., Again Postpones Its Ban on Noncompetes

In our Alerts published January 22 and February 17, 2021, we detailed the various provisions of the broad, new Washington, D.C., Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (the Act), slated to take effect once the District of Columbia Council funded the law through the appropriations process. Among other provisions, the Act would render void and unenforceable any agreement prohibiting an employee from working for a competitor following employment and while the employee is still employed by the employer. The ban on so-called in-term restrictive covenants―standard provisions that prevent an employee from simultaneously working for a competitor of his or her employer―would be the first of its kind in the country.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Colorado Enacts Legislation Authorizing Potential Criminal Liability for Employers that Violate State Noncompetition Statute

A new Colorado law, effective March 1, 2022, will make violations of the state’s noncompetition statute a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 120 days in jail, a fine up to $750, or both.

Colorado’s noncompetition statute, C.R.S. § 8-2-113, prohibits the use of “force, threats, or other means of intimidation to prevent any person from engaging in any lawful occupation at any place he sees fit.” Covenants not to compete restricting the right of any person to receive compensation for performance of skilled or unskilled labor for any employer are void under the statute unless they satisfy certain exceptions.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Pennsylvania’s High Court Finds Businesses’ No-Hire Provision “Unreasonably in Restraint of Trade and Therefore Unenforceable”

In its April 29, 2021, opinion, Pittsburgh Logistics Systems v. Beemac Trucking,―A.3d―, No. 31 WAP 2019, 2021 WL 1676399 (Pa. Apr. 29, 2021), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania weighed in on whether no-hire, or “no-poach,” provisions that are ancillary to a services contract between business entities are enforceable under Pennsylvania law. The court declined to hold such provisions per se unenforceable. Its answer for the clause at issue, however, was a resounding “no.” Now, more than ever, it is critical for Pennsylvania companies and employers to consult with legal counsel to evaluate any no-poach provisions in commercial and employment agreements to increase the chances that these provisions will be upheld.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Expect Delay of Washington, D.C., Ban on Noncompetes Until October 1, 2021

In our Alert published January 22, 2021, entitled “Washington, D.C. Employers Prepare for Broad Ban on Noncompetes and Related Workplace Policies,” we detailed the various provisions of the broad, new Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 and explained that the law would take effect after a 30-day congressional review period, approval and publication in the District of Columbia Register. It is important to clarify, however, that approval requires that the District of Columbia Council fund the law through the appropriations process. Therefore, the law will not actually go into effect until its inclusion in an approved budget and financial plan (the “effective date”).

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Washington, D.C., Employers Brace for Noncompete Agreement Ban and Related Workplace Policies

On January 11, 2021, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (the Act), which takes effect after a 30-day congressional review period, approval and publication in the District of Columbia Register. Although several nearby states, such as Maryland and Virginia, have followed the growing trend of recently enacted laws limiting the use of noncompete agreements, the Act differs in two significant respects: (1) it applies to employees at all income levels and (2) prohibits the use of noncompetes and related workplace policies during employment. As more fully discussed below, this means that employers need to take swift action to address noncompete, nonsolicitation and confidentiality agreements, as well as workplace policies aimed at preventing outside employment and conflicts of interest, as soon as possible.

Read the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

New Legislation in Washington and Oregon Limits the Enforceability of Noncompete Agreements

New legislation enacted in May 2019 will make noncompetes harder to enforce in Washington state and Oregon.

Washington State Enacts Sweeping Noncompete Legislation

On May 8, 2019, Washington became the latest state to enact comprehensive noncompete legislation. Under the Act Relating to Restraints, Including Noncompetition Covenants, on Persons Engaging in Lawful Professions, Trades or Businesses, noncompetition covenants will be void and unenforceable unless they meet a number of specific requirements. Although the act does not take effect until January 1, 2020, it impacts certain agreements signed and certain claims that arise before the effective date, as explained further below.

The act provides that noncompetition covenants are only enforceable against employees and independent contractors whose annual earnings exceed $100,000 and $250,000, respectively. These amounts will be adjusted annually, on September 30 of each year, to account for inflation…

Oregon Legislation Imposes Additional Notice Requirements on Employers

Modifications to Oregon’s existing Noncompetition Law, ORS 653.295, were signed into law on May 14, 2019, introducing additional restrictions on employers’ already curtailed ability to enforce noncompetition covenants, except with respect to certain “excluded employees” described in ORS 653.010(3). Under the newly amended legislation, employers will not only be required to meet preemployment notice requirements under the Noncompetition Law, they must now give employees postemployment notice of their noncompete obligations…

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Third Circuit Reverses N.J. Court Decisions on Restrictive Covenant Agreement’s Enforceability

On April 26, 2019, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded two district court decisions in which the courts had held that a restrictive covenant agreement—offered only to the company’s highest-performing sales employees in exchange for eligibility to participate in a stock-option award program—was unenforceable per se under New Jersey law. ADP, LLC v. Rafferty, 18-1796, 2019 WL 1868701 (3d Cir. Apr. 26, 2019).

ADP utilized two separate layers of agreements containing postemployment restrictive covenants: (1) sales representation agreements (SRAs) and nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) signed by all employees at the time of hire and as a condition of employment; and (2) restrictive covenant agreements (RCAs) with certain high-performing employees as a condition of those employees’ eligibility to participate in the company’s stock-option award program. The RCAs contained more restrictive provisions than the SRAs and NDAs.

View the full Alert on the Duane Morris LLP website.

Pa. Superior Court Holds “No-Hire” Provision in Commercial Contract Between Two Businesses Unenforceable

On January 11, 2019, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, sitting en banc, affirmed a trial court decision that a “no-hire” provision in a commercial contract between two companies—i.e., an agreement by which one company agrees not to solicit or hire the employees of the other for a certain period of time—violated public policy, and was thus unenforceable under Pennsylvania law. Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, LLC and Beemac Logistics, LLC, No. 134 WDA 2017, 2019 Pa. Super. 13 (Jan. 11, 2019).

In Pittsburgh Logistics, Pittsburgh Logistics Systems (PLS), a third-party logistics provider, entered into an agreement with one of its customers, BeeMac Trucking and BeeMac Logistics, for PLS to provide logistics services to BeeMac. The agreement included a no-hire provision prohibiting BeeMac from directly or indirectly hiring, soliciting for employment, inducing or attempting to induce any employee of PLS or any of its affiliates to leave their employment with PLS or the affiliate during the term of the agreement and for a period of two years thereafter. After four PLS employees joined BeeMac, PLS sued BeeMac and its former employees seeking an injunction to enforce, among other things, the no-hire provision. The trial court, noting that a provision such as the one between PLS and BeeMac has never been the subject of litigation in Pennsylvania in any reported case, refused to enforce the no-hire provision, citing cases in other jurisdictions where similar provisions were held to be unenforceable. PLS appealed the trial court’s denial of its preliminary injunction motion seeking to enforce the no-hire provision.

Read the full Duane Morris Alert.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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