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Biden Administration Targets Non-Competes

July 08, 2021

By: Abood Shebib & Melody Lynch

On July 7, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki divulged President Biden intends to sign a new executive order in the coming days addressing competition in the labor market, in part by targeting non-compete clauses and agreements. Non-compete clauses or agreements are contractual in nature and usually consist of an employee’s promise not to compete with his or her employer while employed as well as for a specific time after the employment ends. Non-competes are also usually limited to a certain geographic area and scope of business. They can also include a promise not to solicit the employer’s clients or work for the employer’s competitors. Florida law generally upholds non-compete agreements that place reasonable restrictions on the time, geography, and area of business covered by the non-compete so long as one or more legitimate business interests justify the non-compete.

Secretary Psaki stated “roughly half of private sector businesses require at least some employees to enter non-compete agreements, affecting over 30 million people.” Psaki specifically mentioned the construction and hotel industries as examples of industries where blue-collar workers may be unfairly impacted by non-compete agreements.

The current administration believes some non-competes and occupational licensing requirements may unnecessarily restrict free competition and overly burden workers. Psaki noted unnecessary or overly burdensome licensing requirements can “lock people out of jobs” and that almost 30% of jobs require a license of some sort. Given the administration’s focus on increasing competition in the labor market, businesses may have to revise existing non-compete agreements or clauses depending on what the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) proposes as the forthcoming executive order is expected to call on the FTC to adopt new rules that “curtail non-compete agreements” and “ban unnecessary occupational licensing requirements.”

The executive order is also expected to call for limits to the ability of employers to share information on workers’ pay with each other by encouraging the FTC and the Department of Justice to collaborate on restricting such sharing, ostensibly to prevent potential collusion between employers regarding worker pay.

At this time, there are no further details regarding which employers may be impacted by the executive order and how, let alone the impact of any future rules and regulations the FTC may promulgate in response to the order.

We will continue to monitor for new developments and provide updates and analysis as soon as the expected executive order is issued. As always, we stand ready to advise our friends and clients how these developments may impact their existing non-compete clauses and agreements and assist with navigating any new developments impacting the same.


This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.
Abood

Abood Shebib is an attorney in the firm’s Labor and Employment Group. He primarily focuses his practice on representing employers in complex employment litigation matters, including matters involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). He works with a wide range of clients, from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 100 companies.

Abood has extensive experience handling all aspects of the employment litigation process in both state and federal court. In addition to preparing dispositive motions, including motions for summary judgment and motions to dismiss, taking and defending depositions, and arguing motions in court, he regularly conducts investigations and responds to charges of discrimination before the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). Abood counsels clients on litigation avoidance strategies, as well as assisting with settlements and releases and the termination and discipline of employees.

With a background in commercial litigation, Abood also has experience advising clients on matters involving business litigation, trademark litigation and contract disputes in federal and state court.

Abood earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Arkansas and his law degree cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. While in law school, he served as a judicial intern to Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division and as a certified legal intern in the Office of the Public Defender for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. He was also an intern in the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel for the University of Florida. Shortly after graduating from law school, Abood interned with Judge James S. Moody in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. 

Melody

Melody Lynch focuses her practice on probate, trust & fiduciary litigation, contested guardianships, and complex business disputes. Her MBA complements her law degree when she analyzes financial statements and handles other complicated issues involving assets. 

A significant portion of Melody’s practice is devoted to resolving conflicts among family members and other estate beneficiaries, fights over missing assets and property ownership, claims by or against fiduciaries, guardianship challenges, and other proceedings requiring the interpretation of wills and trusts. She frequently helps charitable organizations, foundations, trustees and other institutional beneficiaries of large estates navigate the probate process. Whether in or out of the courtroom, Melody handles these delicate – and often emotional – issues not just with legal proficiency but with compassion as well.  

Melody’s experience extends to other business disputes too, particularly in the employment law arena with matters involving restrictive covenants as well as non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. She has protected employers in a wide range of industries, including medical devices, pest control, physicians and physician practices. 

In addition, she is a Guardian ad Litem for the Legal Aid Society where she represents the interests of abused and neglected children. She also is a pro bono attorney for Seniors First where she represents the interests of indigent elderly wards. 

The court room isn’t the only stage on which Melody has appeared. Before pursuing her career in law, Melody attended college on a ballet scholarship and was an apprentice dancer with a professional ballet company. A native of Orlando, her passion for both the arts and the area informs her leadership roles in the Central Florida community. She serves as president-elect of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, was named to the prestigious Orlando Business Journal’s "40 under 40" list, and was awarded the Presidential Leadership Award by the Orange County Bar Association. 

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