Public Knowledge Applauds FTC Rulemaking Effort To Curb Worker Noncompetes

Public Knowledge urges the FTC to move swiftly to prohibit the use of noncompete clauses as an unfair method of competition.

Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed comments on the Federal Trade Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on noncompete clauses. Noncompete clauses block employees from working for a competing employer – or starting a competing business after their employment ends. The FTC is considering a proposed rule that would prohibit the use of noncompete clauses as an “unfair method of competition” under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Noncompete clauses restrict workers, slow innovation, and increase prices for consumers. Public Knowledge argues in its comments that the FTC must use its competition rulemaking authority in order to fulfill Congress’ mandate to stop unfair methods of competition. The agency’s rulemaking authority can help it keep up with changes in the marketplace or in economic learning, use limited resources more efficiently, and provide greater clarity to market participants. Public Knowledge encourages the agency to move swiftly through this process.

The following can be attributed to Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge:

“I’m glad that the FTC is addressing the pernicious problem of noncompete agreements, and it’s even more important that they are using the tool of competition rulemaking to do so. Rules like the proposed rule against noncompete agreements will be a crucial part of the agency’s effort to do more with less: achieving more good for the country with fewer resources. Rules provide people and businesses with needed clarity about what conduct is allowed and prohibited, and simplify enforcement so we waste fewer resources on complex litigations. 

“It’s wonderful to see so much interest and excitement from people across the country in the work of the FTC. This process also reflects an impressive effort by the FTC to bring people into the political process and seek input from a broader range of stakeholders.”

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