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Non-Compete Ban Is Coming to New York

11 Jul


Update applicable to:

All employers operating in New York

What happened?

The New York State Assembly and Senate have passed bills that, once signed into law, will create a new section in the New York State Labor Law (Section 191-d) that will make non-compete agreements unlawful in New York.

What are the details?

The proposed legislation would amend the New York Labor Law to prohibit the signing or modification of non-compete agreements after the effective date.

The law allows employees who are subject to non-compete agreements to sue their employers in state court. The law specifically targets non-compete agreements that restrict employees from obtaining employment after leaving their current employer. It extends beyond traditional employees and includes “covered individuals” who are economically dependent on their employers.

Employees and contractors would have the right to sue their employers within two years of several triggering events related to the non-compete agreement. The court may void the non-compete and award the plaintiff lost compensation, damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and liquidated damages of up to $10,000.

However, it remains unclear what damages a plaintiff can claim under this provision since the bill renders non-compete agreements unenforceable. The bill does not affect non-disclosure agreements protecting trade secrets and confidential information or agreements prohibiting the solicitation of clients learned during employment, and existing agreements will not be affected.

The proposed law does not mention employee non-solicitation agreements, but it does state that existing federal, state, and local laws regarding enforceability of these agreements would still apply. The bill differs from the proposed ban on non-competes by the Federal Trade Commission in that it lacks a sale-of-business exception, does not require the rescission of existing non-competes, and does not require employers to notify individuals of voided non-compete agreements.

For more information, please see the links below:

Official Bill Page

Law Firm Summaries: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3

What do employers need to do?

Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to sign the bill. If signed, the law will go into effect 30 days later and will invalidate employers’ ability to enter into new non-compete agreements at that point. The Harris Beach law firm advises businesses utilizing non-compete agreements to review their practices with experienced Labor & Employment counsel. Even if non-compete agreements are invalidated, other strategies can help protect businesses’ proprietary information and their investment in talent.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's New York PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.

This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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