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Washington State Further Restricts Noncompetition Agreements

The state of Washington has placed additional restrictions on the use of noncompetition agreements. Readers may be familiar with the Federal Trade Commission’s latest noncompete rule, which goes into effect on September 4, 2024. While that federal regulation is currently being challenged in court, Washington’s rule has already gone into effect.

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Managing Your Workforce During Market Volatility: Large-Scale Personnel Decisions

In response to recent market conditions, employers are making difficult workforce decisions, including reducing employee headcount, eliminating departments, hiring consultants or implementing hiring freezes. Being able to navigate these events can help employers mitigate risk and prepare their workforces for the path forward.

During a recent webinar, our Employment and Business Restructuring Practice Groups explored best practices and strategic management for navigating large-scale personnel decisions.

Access the recording and key takeaways here.

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Key Takeaways From the FTC’s Final Noncompete Rule: What It Means and Next Steps for Employers

During a recent webinar, Paul HughesBrian Mead and Katharine O’Connor shed light on pressing questions about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) rule preventing all employers from using noncompete clauses. They explained the impact of the Final Rule on current noncompete agreements, examined the legal issues around enforcing a noncompete ban and ensuing litigation, and outlined what employers should do next.

Access the recording and key takeaways.

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Revisiting Trade Secret Strategies Following the FTC Ban on Noncompete Agreements

On April 23, 2024, in a move that will have significant ramifications for employment contracts and intellectual property (IP) rights, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a rule banning all future noncompete agreements nationwide with limited exceptions. The rule marks a pivotal moment for trade secret protection and enforcement strategies as it promises to reshape the relationship between employers and employees and impact safeguards for proprietary information.

Noncompete agreements have long been used to temporarily restrict employees from working for a competitor or starting a competing business after leaving an employer. These agreements are often used to protect a company’s IP by prohibiting employees from taking and/or disclosing proprietary information, such as customer lists, to competitors.

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New UK Employment Law Changes Taking Effect

This spring sees the introduction of a number of important changes to employment laws in the United Kingdom. These include:

  • Expansion of the existing right to request flexible working
  • New rules for the calculation of holiday and holiday pay entitlement for irregular hour workers and part-year workers
  • A new unpaid leave right for carers
  • Greater flexibility in respect of paternity leave
  • Enhanced redundancy protection for pregnant employees and employees taking certain family leave
  • Increases in minimum wage limits
  • Increases in the value of certain potential tribunal awards and other statutory payment entitlements
  • Increases in the value of potential injury to feeling awards in discrimination cases

Read about the changes here.

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FTC Issues Rule Banning Worker Noncompete Agreements

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 along party lines to ban all new noncompete agreements nationwide and render existing noncompete agreements binding most workers unenforceable. The Final Rule, slated for publication in the Federal Register, provides that employers’ use of noncompete agreements amounts to an “unfair method of competition” that runs afoul of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

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For a deeper dive, join our multidisciplinary team of employment and antitrust lawyers for a webinar covering what employers need to know about the Final Rule and what to do next.

FTC’s Final Noncompete Rule: What It Means and Next Steps for Employers
Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Webinar | 2:00 – 3:00 pm (EDT)

Register for the webinar here.

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California Imposes New Workplace Violence Prevention Mandate

On September 30, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 553 into law, creating a new layer to California employers’ existing injury and illness prevention programs (IIPP). Under SB 553, employers are required to implement a workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) no later than July 1, 2024, to provide training to employees regarding the WVPP and to keep records of workplace violence incidents. As of January 1, 2025, the law also expands employers’ and employee representatives’ rights to obtain restraining orders on behalf of employees affected by threats of workplace violence.

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California Employee Civil Rights Defenses Following Estrada Case

On January 18, 2024, in a highly anticipated and unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of California barred striking a claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) on trial manageability grounds alone, instead authorizing due process defenses to PAGA claims (Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc.). The decision also commented approvingly on representative testimonies, surveys and statistical analyses. As a result of the decision, employers now face a new challenge of marshalling such evidence to their defenses and challenging the misuse of such evidence on due process grounds in future PAGA litigation.

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Workplace Speech Policies Limit Legal and PR Risks

The rules and regulations on workplace and employee speech, interpretation and enforcement are rapidly changing. Companies must carefully factor legal and business implications into their strategy to reach the desired outcomes for their customers, workforce and brand.

In this Law360 article, Michael Sheehan, Michelle Strowhiro and Alexander Randolph examine important considerations for companies as they navigate the complexities of workplace and employee speech.

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Heightened Labor Scrutiny Looms Over Workplace Rules

A recent National Labor Relations Board decision will likely expose a broader range of workplace rules to regulator enforcement. According to this HR Dive article, introducing even ordinary workplace rules during unionization could draw new scrutiny. However, as Christopher Foster and Marjorie C. Soto Garcia explain, there are steps employers can take to mitigate risk.

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