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November 14, 2019In the News

Bernal quoted in Human Resource Executive article "Is noncompete legislation a bridge too far?"

Human Resource Executive

Michael Best Partner Patrick Bernal was quoted in Human Resource Executive's article "Is noncompete legislation a bridge too far?" on November 14, 2019.

New bipartisan legislation aimed at curtailing abuses of noncompete agreements in the workplace is a reality and, while some employment attorneys say change could be a good thing, others are concerned the proposed Senate bill veers into unrealistic, and unfair, territory.

In short, the Workforce Mobility Act, co-sponsored by Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), would:

  • narrow the use of noncompete agreements to include only necessary instances of a dissolution of a partnership or the sale of a business;
  • place the enforcement responsibility on the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Labor, as well as a private right of action;
  • require employers to make their employees aware of the limitation on noncompetes, as studies have found that noncompetes are often used even when they are illegal or unenforceable. The Department of Labor would also be given the authority to make the public aware of the limitation; and
  • require the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Labor to submit a report to Congress on any enforcement actions taken.

Patrick Bernal, a partner with the Michael Best law firm, says the “interesting thing about the sweeping Workforce Mobility Act” is that, on the surface, it appears to have a better chance of passing than its predecessors. For example, he explains that California’s tech growth—which has coincided with a near total ban on noncompetes—has clearly been an eye-opener for many chambers of commerce. Yet, he still believes passage is a long shot.

To read the full article, click here.

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