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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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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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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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COMING UP

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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2024 Chart of Healthcare Regulations

During this election year, McDermottPlus is actively monitoring annual regulations that federal agencies are expected to release, as well as “ad hoc” regulations that will be released at the discretion of federal agencies.

This chart displays health-related regulations that may be issued this year, organized by federal agency and date of potential release.

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FTC Proposes Health Breach Notification Rule Amendments

At a recent open Commission meeting, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the Health Breach Notification Rule (HBNR). The FTC’s proposed amendment aims to codify the HBNR’s application to digital health and mobile technologies. However, several aspects of the proposed amendment lack clarity and are likely to cause confusion unless further clarified through the ongoing rulemaking process.

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Washington State Legislature Passes My Health My Data Act

The My Health My Data Act in Washington State (the Act) is expected to be signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee this year, after being passed by both the Washington Senate and House in different versions. Unlike recent state privacy laws, the Act specifically targets consumer health data that is not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It includes provisions that apply to processors and third parties who may handle a broadly defined set of consumer health data, beyond healthcare-adjacent businesses. The Act could have a significant impact on various entities, including advertisers, mobile app providers, wearable device manufacturers, healthcare companies and their data processors who handle non-HIPAA-regulated health information.

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The FTC’s Noncompete Plans Are Part of a Sea Change for Business

The Federal Trade Commission’s newly proposed rules that would prohibit most noncompete clauses in employment represent a seismic shift for business. In this Barron’s article, McDermott Partner Michael Peregrine says corporate leadership should “take very seriously” the threat that federal antitrust policy presents to business operations and strategic development.

“This government activity has risen to a level that demands serious board and executive attention as a possible corporate enterprise risk,” Peregrine writes.

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FTC Proposes Rule Banning Noncompete Agreements

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule that would prohibit employers from using noncompete agreements with their employees or independent contractors. This proposal arises from a preliminary finding by the FTC that noncompetes constitute an unfair method of competition in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act). It comes on the heels of the FTC’s November policy statement asserting its intention to rigorously enforce and expand the scope of Section 5 of the FTC Act’s ban on unfair methods of competition.

If adopted, this rule would make it illegal for an employer to enter into a noncompete agreement with a worker, maintain a noncompete with a worker or represent to a worker that the worker is subject to a noncompete. Employers would also be required to rescind existing noncompetes and inform workers that they are no longer enforceable.

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The 411 on Employment Background Checks in Stock and Asset Transactions

Employment background checks help employers hire individuals with integrity whom they can trust, and who do not present a risk to the business, other employees, or the customers and clients that the business serves. Buyers in transactions may view target businesses that run background checks as lower risk for employee performance and retention issues. Background checks also constitute an important area for employment diligence in transactions because an employer or background check vendor’s failure to follow the hypertechnical disclosure and authorization requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other applicable state and local laws risks potentially material class action exposure and $1,000 penalties per violation. This article explores mitigation strategies that buyers may use in due diligence to identify and valuate potential FCRA exposure.

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