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High-Stakes Rules on Overtime, Independent Contractors and More Are Changing. Here’s What Businesses Need to Know.

The Playbook

Employers are navigating a series of evolving workplace rules in 2024—and experts say businesses should proceed with caution.

Those rules, a patchwork of proposed regulations, final rules and court decisions, cover everything from overtime wages to who counts as an employee and potentially could upend how employers manage their workforce.


FTC noncompete ban would shake up employer-employee relations

The Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule early in 2023 that would do away with noncompete agreements. It also included provisions against broad nonsolicitation agreements and training repayment plans for employees who leave.

The rule, if finalized, would impact 30 million Americans and thousands of businesses—freeing a multitude of workers from existing clauses. The FTC claims the agreements are burdensome for workers and stifle economic mobility. Business groups contend the agreements are necessary to foster growth and innovation. The FTC is expected to make a final decision on the rule in 2024, with some experts saying it could come as early as April.

Anthony Haller, a labor and employment attorney and partner at law firm Blank Rome, said the FTC would face an immediate wave of court challenges if it finalizes the rule. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, have pledged to fight it in court.

An immediate injunction is likely, which will delay the rule until the courts, even possibly up to the Supreme Court, make a decision, Haller said. And courts are likely to look at the FTC’s arguments with skepticism, he added.

“Don’t overreact with what’s going on with the FTC or NLRB. It’s not likely to be law,” Haller said.

He urged businesses to take careful aim at what they want out of such agreements — and make them thoughtful and tailored to that purpose.

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“High-Stakes Rules on Overtime, Independent Contractors and More Are Changing. Here’s What Businesses Need to Know.” by Andy Medici, was published in The Playbook on March 14, 2023.