This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.
By John V. Berry, Esq.
The President is very likely to seek the elimination of all non-compete agreements, except those that are absolutely necessary. A non-compete agreement restricts where and when an employee can work after leaving their current job. Most employees sign a non-compete agreement before they start employment.
Why Change Is Needed
The proposed change is in response to efforts over the past 15 to 20 years where the use of non-compete agreements has gotten out of control and is beginning to cover practically every type of employee. The result has been that some employees, at even the lowest levels of a company, are barred from getting another position, even if they are terminated. It also has caused an inability for lower-wage workers to take better jobs at other employers as their skills develop. If you want to learn more about non-competes, check out this previously published article.
The President, during the campaign, stated that his goal was to:
“Eliminate non-compete clauses and no-poaching agreements that hinder the ability of employees to seek higher wages, better benefits, and working conditions by changing employers. In the American economy, companies compete. Workers should be able to compete, too. But at some point in their careers, 40% of American workers have been subject to non-compete clauses. If workers had the freedom to move to another job, they could expect to earn 5% to 10% more — that’s an additional $2,000 to $4,000 for a worker earning $40,000 each year…”
See more in the President’s Campaign Plan.
Potential Federal Changes to Non-Compete Agreements
It is uncertain whether or not federal legislation instituting a ban on non-compete agreements will pass Congress. There is also the question as to whether or not the President would use an executive order to bar government contractors from using or enforcing non-compete agreements with their employees. Presumably, the President could do so without Congress.
States Start To Limit Non-Compete Agreements
For the moment, most states allow non-compete agreements in some form. This is quickly changing and many states are reconsidering whether or not to permit (or extremely limit) non-compete agreements. For instance, California has maintained a ban on employee non-compete agreements. In addition, other states, such as the District of Columbia, Oklahoma and North Dakota allow them only in narrow circumstances.
In Virginia, non-compete agreements had long been permitted, but the courts here have made them significantly harder to enforce when they deem them unreasonable. Furthermore, Virginia, as of July 2020, enacted a partial ban on non-compete agreements for low[er]-wage employees. Low-wage employees in Virginia are currently defined as those making approximately $62,000 a year or less, so many employees will be affected.
While there are definitely legitimate uses of non-compete agreements, such as to protect companies from the loss of very sensitive business information and/or personnel, some have gone too far with this type of forced agreement in recent years, which has caused the current backlash. There are examples of food service workers or mechanics forced to sign non-compete agreements, forbidding them from working for others.
However, change is coming and long needed. At this point, given the number of states changing their laws, it is only a matter of time before non-compete agreements are only permissible in isolated circumstances. Non-compete agreements remain needed in some types of employment but not in the broad manner that they are being used today.
If you are in need of employment law legal representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.
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Let the Arlingtones surprise your friend or sweetie this Valentine’s Day with a barbershop quartet singing love songs in four part a cappella harmony! Choose from a small selection of songs in our repertoire to surprise your special someone.
$75 for two songs delivered to a place of your choice by a live, in-person quartet. Includes a classy tin of chocolates, fresh red rose and personalized card. Small mileage surcharge for >5 miles outside Arlington VA.
$30 Facetime/Skype valentine- two songs delivered ‘live’ via Facetime or Skype at an agreed-on time.
$20 virtual valentine- two pre-recorded quartet songs delivered via email with a personalized message.
Have you noticed a striking sculpture at Monroe Street and Wilson Boulevard? It’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s newest installation, Make Your Mark, by Arlington artist, Adam Henry. This sculpture celebrates MoCA Arlington’s rebranding and brings the museum’s energy outdoors.
On February 11, come inside when the museum’s galleries reopen with two new exhibitions: Rebecca Rivas Rogers: Grey View and Crisis of Image.
Grey View, in the Wyatt Resident Artist Gallery, is an homage to “gray” and a snapshot of the artist’s process. Consisting of photographs, collage, and a site-specific installation, this show is an outgrowth of Rivas-Rogers’ visual investigations into places you see on your way to somewhere else.
On the main level, Crisis of Image features artists who seek equity in today’s saturated visual world by developing new methods related to the production of images.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village