The FTC’s Ban on Non-Competes: What It Means for Your Business

FTC Non Compete Ban

In a landmark move, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a rule banning non-compete clauses in employment contracts. This decision aims to foster competition and enhance worker mobility, but its implications are complex and potentially far-reaching.

Understanding Non-Compete Clauses

Non-compete clauses are provisions in employment contracts that restrict employees from working for competitors or starting a competing business for a specified period after leaving a company. These clauses have been widely used to protect trade secrets and retain talent. However, critics argue that they stifle competition and limit employees’ career growth and mobility.

The FTC’s ban is grounded in the belief that non-compete clauses unfairly hinder workers from finding new employment opportunities and depress wages. By eliminating these restrictions, the FTC hopes to create a more dynamic and competitive labor market.

The Legal Battle Ahead

While the FTC’s decision marks a significant policy shift, its implementation faces potential hurdles. Many are saying that the FTC’s recent announcement to end non-competes for all employees faces slim chances of success, as the US Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit in Texas less than 24 hours later, making a complete ban on non-compete agreements doubtful. What will the end result be? We must wait and find out! More legal challenges are expected from various business groups and organizations that argue non-compete clauses are necessary to protect proprietary information and investments in employee training. The outcome of these legal battles will determine the final fate of the FTC’s rule.

Non-Solicitation Agreements: A Separate Matter

It’s essential to understand that this ruling, if it withstands potential legal challenges, does not affect non-solicitation agreements between corporations.It’s important to distinguish non-compete clauses from non-solicitation agreements. Non-solicitation agreements prevent individuals or entities from soliciting employees or clients from a business for a specified period. These agreements are designed to protect companies from losing key personnel and clients to competitors.

Unlike non-compete clauses, non-solicitation agreements are not affected by the FTC’s new rule. The ruling specifically targets clauses that restrict an individual’s ability to seek employment elsewhere. Non-solicitation agreements, however, involve agreements between corporations and do not impose restrictions on the individual’s employment choices.

What This Means for Businesses

Businesses need to stay informed about the evolving legal landscape surrounding employment agreements. If the FTC’s ban on non-compete clauses remains in place, companies will need to reassess their strategies for protecting trade secrets and retaining talent. Alternative measures, such as non-disclosure agreements and robust non-solicitation clauses, may become more prominent.

Moreover, businesses should review existing contracts to ensure compliance with the new regulations and prepare for potential revisions. Legal counsel can provide guidance on navigating these changes and implementing agreements that align with the new regulatory environment.


The FTC’s ban on non-compete clauses represents a significant shift in employment law, aiming to boost worker mobility and market competition. While the ruling’s future is uncertain due to potential legal challenges, businesses must proactively adapt to the changing landscape. Understanding the distinction between non-compete and non-solicitation agreements will be crucial in ensuring compliance and protecting business interests in the evolving regulatory framework.

Need more advice? Contact Wendy Sellers, “The HR Lady®,” who can help you launch an employee engagement survey, analyze results, and begin change initiatives!

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Wendy Sellers
Wendy Sellers, known as “The HR Lady®,” is a dedicated HR consultant and business partner of all size businesses, a conference speaker, and management trainer who specializes in understanding the unique culture and goals of organizations in order to improve business outcomes.

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