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Navigating the FTC Non-Compete Ban: A Legal Perspective from Moody & Associates Law Office

Last Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission made a decisive vote to enact its rule prohibiting employers from implementing noncompete clauses in nearly all situations. Following this decision, the Chamber of Commerce promptly filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking to overturn the rule. If this rule is not overturned, noncompete agreements will no longer be enforceable for the vast majority of employees after the rule’s effective date—120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

As the legal landscape undergoes significant changes with the proposed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule to ban non-compete clauses, business owners need expert guidance to navigate this new terrain. At Moody & Associates Law Office, we specialize in estate planning and business formation, offering tailored solutions to protect your interests in this evolving legal landscape. In this guide, we explore the implications of the ban and provide strategies for business owners to adapt and thrive.

I. Understanding the FTC Non-Compete Ban

The FTC's proposal aims to eliminate non-compete clauses in employment contracts, citing their negative effects on wages, innovation, and market competition. According to the FTC's latest regulation, existing noncompete agreements for most employees will lose their enforceability after the rule takes effect. However, for senior executives, constituting less than 0.75% of the workforce, existing noncompetes can remain valid under the FTC's final rule. Nonetheless, employers are prohibited from initiating or enforcing any new noncompete agreements, including those involving senior executives. Additionally, employers must notify employees, excluding senior executives, who are subject to existing noncompete agreements that these agreements will no longer be enforced against them.

II. Revising Employment Contracts with an Estate Planning Lens

As a business owner, the immediate task is to review and revise current employment agreements. This involves more than just removing non-compete clauses; you must ensure that all employment restrictions, such as non-disclosure agreements, do not unlawfully limit future employment opportunities for former employees. Our estate planning expertise allows us to approach this task with a comprehensive understanding of your long-term goals and interests.

III. Legal Landscape and Challenges

Legal challenges are anticipated as the non-compete ban faces scrutiny in the courts. Business advocacy groups may argue that the FTC lacks the authority to enforce such a sweeping rule. At Moody & Associates Law Office, we stay abreast of these developments, leveraging our legal expertise to provide informed guidance to our clients. Whether it's navigating complex regulatory changes or defending your business interests in court, our attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and assets.

IV. Federal Preemption of State Laws and Business Formation

The proposed FTC rule would override any less restrictive state laws regarding non-competes. This federal preemption might simplify some aspects of compliance for businesses operating in multiple states but could also strip away some protections that employers have relied upon. Understanding these changes at both the federal and state levels is crucial for compliance and strategic planning.

V. Protecting Business Interests through Estate Planning

Without the ability to enforce non-compete clauses, you'll need to explore alternative methods to safeguard your trade secrets and proprietary information. Consider strengthening your non-disclosure agreements and investing in security measures that protect intellectual property without restricting employment mobility. Our estate planning services extend beyond traditional wills and trusts to include comprehensive strategies for protecting intellectual property, trade secrets, and proprietary information. By integrating estate planning principles into your business strategy, you can ensure the long-term viability and success of your enterprise.

VI. Adjusting HR Strategies and Estate Planning

Adapting to the non-compete ban will require changes to your human resources strategies. Focus on enhancing your employment value proposition and retention strategies to keep key talent without the crutch of non-competes. This might include improving workplace culture, offering career development opportunities, and potentially revising incentive structures.

VII. Promoting Workforce Mobility and Business Succession Planning

The ban could lead to increased job mobility. While this poses challenges in retaining top talent, it also presents opportunities to attract skilled workers from competitors. Embrace this new mobility by positioning your company as a desirable place to work, with competitive benefits and opportunities for growth. As part of our business formation services, we assist clients in developing comprehensive succession plans that account for changes in employee mobility and market dynamics. By proactively planning for the future, you can ensure a seamless transition of ownership and leadership within your organization.

VIII. Are There Any Exceptions to the Non-Compete Rule?

While the FTC's final rule imposes broad restrictions on non-compete agreements, there are a few exceptions to consider:

1. Bona Fide Sale of Business: Non-compete clauses entered into as part of a bona fide sale of a business entity, ownership interest, or substantially all of the business entity's operating assets are exempt from the rule.
2. Pre-Existing Cause of Action: Actions related to non-compete clauses that accrued prior to the effective date of August 21, 2024, are not subject to the rule.
3. Entities Outside FTC's Jurisdiction: Entities or individuals outside the jurisdiction of the FTC, including those acting under state law or categorized as "true non-profits," are not bound by the rule-making authority of the FTC.

While partnerships are not explicitly exempted from the rule, the FTC provided clarification:

• Senior Executive Status: Partners with policy-making authority and meeting compensation criteria may qualify as senior executives.

• Sale of Business Exception: Partnerships may fall under the sale of business exception if the sale meets the specified requirements.

These exceptions provide some flexibility in certain circumstances but underscore the need for careful consideration and legal advice when navigating non-compete agreements in the evolving regulatory landscape.


The FTC’s proposed non-compete ban could significantly alter how you manage and protect your workforce. Proactive adaptation and compliance with the new rules will be key to maintaining competitive advantage and legal integrity.

Key Takeaways:

1. Review and Revise Contracts: Business owners must review and revise employment contracts to comply with the non-compete ban while protecting their business assets.

2. Stay Informed on Legal Developments: Monitor legal challenges and developments related to the non-compete ban to ensure compliance and protect your rights.

3. Integrate Estate Planning Strategies: Integrate estate planning principles into your business strategy to safeguard intellectual property and ensure long-term success.

For continuous updates on how the FTC non-compete ban could affect your business and to stay ahead in adapting to these changes, like us on Facebook and follow us on LinkedIn. Ensure you're always equipped with the latest information and strategies.

Navigating the FTC Non-Compete Ban: A Legal Perspective from Moody & Associates Law Office
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