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As we posted yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has at long last issued its final regulatory rule banning virtually all existing and future U.S. non-compete agreements. In this series, we will unpack some of the more nuanced questions surrounding the final rule. Although the series is generally applicable, today’s post is particularly geared toward private equity firms and financial institutions.

How does the sale-of-business exception work?

One of the exceptions to the final rule is that it does “not apply to a non-compete clause that is entered into by a person pursuant to a bona fide sale of a business entity, of the person’s ownership interest in a business entity, or of all or substantially all of a business entity’s operating assets.”

This language is fairly similar to an exception included in the FTC’s January 2023 proposed non-compete rule – however, there is an important change in the final rule. Specifically, the proposed rule included an exception for certain non-compete agreements between the seller and the buyer of a business that applied only to a substantial owner, member, or partner, defined as an owner, member, or partner with at least 25 percent ownership interest in the business entity being sold. In the final rule, however, the FTC has dropped the 25 percent ownership interest requirement.Continue Reading Unpacking the FTC’s ban on U.S. non-compete agreements: Impact on private equity and financial institutions

As we discussed in an October 2021 article regarding the future of restrictive covenant agreements in the U.S., President Biden in July 2021 directed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to explore potential ways to limit the use of non-compete agreements. In January 2023, the FTC followed through on the President’s directive by proposing a regulatory rule that would effectively ban such agreements.

And on Tuesday afternoon, more than 15 months after publishing the proposed rule and after receiving more than 26,000 public comments on the January 2023 proposal, the FTC at long last unveiled and approved its final non-compete rule (the final rule) in a party line 3-2 vote.Continue Reading BREAKING: FTC bans virtually all existing and future U.S. non-compete agreements

On Wednesday April 17, 2024, the US Supreme Court in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, et al. issued a precedential ruling that will likely pave the way for more employee discrimination claims under Title VII. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that Title VII prohibits discriminatory job transfers even if they do not result in a “materially significant disadvantage” to the employee. The Court clarified that an employee challenging a job transfer under Title VII must establish “some harm” with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, but that such harm “need not be significant.”Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court clarifies standard for job transfer discrimination under Title VII

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule implementing the federal Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA, which went into effect in June 2023,1 requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ known limitations relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical protections. The PFWA builds on existing pregnancy-related protections and employer obligations under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many state and local laws.Continue Reading EEOC issues final rule on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On January 29, 2024, the Delaware Supreme Court issued an important decision addressing the enforceability of restrictive covenants. As detailed below, in Cantor Fitzgerald v. Ainslie, the court upheld forfeiture-for-competition provisions set forth in a limited partnership (LP) agreement and ruled in favor of the partnership not having to pay out millions to former partners.

Key highlights

In Cantor Fitzgerald, the Delaware Supreme Court decision relied significantly on the following factors in enforcing the LP agreement as written and determining that the disputed provisions were, in fact, enforceable:

  • The restrictive covenant did not bar the claimants from engaging in competitive activities.
  • Rather, the provisions in question provided, in part, that receipt and retention of prior conditional awards of a portion of their compensation would be subject to the condition precedent that the recipient refrained from competing – in other words, these were forfeiture-for-competition provisions.
  • These forfeiture-for-competition provisions were not liquidated damages provisions (triggered by a breach of contract); rather, these provisions set up a condition precedent (not competing with the employer) to the employees’ receipt of the amounts that had been held back. 
  • The “employee choice doctrine” suggests that courts do not review forfeiture-for-competition provisions for reasonableness where, as here, the employee voluntarily terminates employment (as opposed to remaining employed and vesting in the contingent compensation amounts).

Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court confirms enforceability of restrictive covenant provisions in favor of employer-partnership, reversing Chancery Court determination

Employment legislation and litigation are often about trends. In the mid-to-late 2010’s, for instance, lawmakers across the U.S. enacted numerous bills concerning paid time off for employees, such as for sick and family leave. A more recent trend involves regulatory and legislative attempts to limit or even outright ban non-compete agreements.

In New York State, the unquestionable employment litigation trend over the past several years has revolved around frequency of pay claims under Section 191 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). This trend was born out of a radical 2019 appellate court decision that broke from more than a century of judicial precedent.

As more fully discussed below, however, two recent developments – one legislative and one judicial – suggest that the flood of frequency of pay lawsuits may soon be a thing of the past.Continue Reading Are frequency of pay lawsuits in New York soon to be a thing of the past?

As we have previously reported, several months ago, New York enacted the HERO Act, a sweeping overhaul of the state’s workplace health and safety laws.  On September 6, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. As such, all New York employers are

Please see an updated version of our FAQs as of July 25, 2020. 

 We have compiled FAQs concerning New York’s COVID-19-related health and safety protocols for businesses across the state. These protocols apply to all New York businesses – regardless of size, location, whether the business has physically reopened, or whether it was deemed “essential”

Since early May, New York State has published – across multiple platforms – a slew of materials related to business reopenings and workplace-related health and safety. We developed a FAQs based on some of the more common New York-specific questions that clients have posed to us since May. The FAQs touch on a host of

As we have reported, since March, New York State has implemented a variety of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to protect workers during the pandemic. These measures include essential business designations, limiting in-person work, paid leave for certain employees impacted by COVID-19, phased reopening of nonessential businesses, mandatory health and safety protocols, and requiring a business reopening safety plan. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) is charged with enforcing many of these measures with which all New York businesses have been and are required to comply.

With many regions now in “Phase Three” of the state’s reopening scheme, the NYSDOL will likely begin auditing employers and investigating complaints to ensure that businesses are complying with New York’s many COVID-19 regulations. For example, the NYSDOL may request from employers an explanation or documentation of the health and safety measures in place at their in-person places of business. In addition, the NYSDOL may inquire as to whether employees have contracted COVID-19 and, if so, what protocols businesses implemented as a result.
Continue Reading Reminder to New York employers: the New York State Department of Labor will be enforcing COVID-19 regulations