Many pollsters are predicting Congress could switch from Republican to Democratic control in November. It has been quite some time since we have seen any significant employment legislation from the Congress, but a newly invigorated Democrat Congress might get busy and start passing laws. A recent bill introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a preview of what that legislation might look like next year.
Warren and fellow Democrat Senators Chris Murphy (CT) and Ron Wyden (OR) have introduced the “Workplace Mobility Act,” which would outlaw non-compete agreements. Specifically, the bill would require a posting advising employees that such agreements are unlawful, and provide for a private cause of action and fines against employers who enforce or threaten to enforce a restriction on competition. The law would allow agreements to protect trade secrets as defined under the U.S. Code, but is silent as to whether restrictions on soliciting customers or employees would be prohibited. The bill narrowly defines a non-compete agreement as one which limits an employee from performing similar work within a specific geographic area or for a specified period of time. The full text of the bill can be found here.