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Bipartisan Group of Six Senators Seeks GAO Review of Non-Competes

On March 7, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), requesting that the agency perform a review of the effect of non-competition agreements “on workers and on the economy as a whole.” The six signatories to the letter were Chris Murphy (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In particular, they asked the GAO to assess:

  1. What is known about the prevalence of non-compete agreements in particular fields, including low-wage occupations?

  2. What is known about the effects of non-compete agreements on the workforce and the economy, including employment, wages and benefits, innovation, and entrepreneurship?

  3. What steps have selected states taken to limit the use of these agreements, and what is known about the effect these actions have had on employees and employers?

The letter is but the latest in numerous efforts at the federal level (including prior legislation introduced by Senators Warren and Rubio) to shine a spotlight on, and limit, the use of non-competes by employers, particularly with regard to low-wage or entry-level employees. Thus far, bills introduced on this issue in Congress have failed to gain traction, but a GAO review on the topic could be used to support such legislation in the future.

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About this Author

David J. Clark Attorney, Epstein Becker Green, Labor and Employment Law Attorney
Member

David J. Clark is Senior Counsel in the Litigation and Labor and Employment practices, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice concentrates on the litigation of complex commercial and employment-related disputes in state and federal courts and before tribunals such as the American Arbitration Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He represents clients in a wide range of industries, including accounting, advertising and media, banking, financial services, insurance, managed care, and retail, among others.

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