Federal Trade Commission Bans Non-Compete Clauses

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized a rule banning most employers and employees from entering into non-compete clauses, effective 120 days post-publication in the Federal Register. This move aims to eliminate these clauses across all levels of workers, with a narrow exception for senior executives’ pre-existing agreements.


The rule broadly defines non-compete clauses, including any terms that prevent or penalize employees from seeking employment elsewhere after their current employment ends. It also outlaws “forfeiture-for-competition” clauses, where employees must choose between severance and working for a competitor.


Moreover, the rule mandates that employers notify all employees, except senior executives, that their non-compete clauses are no longer enforceable, providing suggested language for such notifications.


An exception remains for non-compete clauses entered into during the bona fide sale of a business, which now potentially includes certain employee scenarios.



This rule marks a significant shift in U.S. employment practice, and employers are urged to reassess their compensation and retention strategies immediately.