New York could potentially outlaw non-compete agreements after New York State lawmakers approved the legislation in June 2023. The only person in the way of its implementation is New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
According to BloombergLaw, since its approval the bill has seen an aggressive lobbying campaign from those for and against it. Recently, Hochul has come out favoring Corporate lobbies, calling for a more “scaled-back version” of the bill. Corporate lobbies have advocated for a ban on non-compete agreements for low to middle-income workers, due to the higher amount of leverage high earners have.
Non-compete agreements often prohibit employees from working for a competitor after employment ends for a specific amount of time. In recent years a movement within the United States has begun to fight against these agreements, due to many believing them to be bad for employees.
For Hochul, these revisions are necessary to keep workers in their state.
“What I’m looking at right now is striking the right balance between protecting low and middle-income workers, giving them flexibility to have mobility to go from job to job as they continue up the ladder of success,” said Hochul last Thursday to reporters. “But those who are successful have a lot more negotiation power, and they’re at the industries that are an important part of our economy here in New York.”
“I’m not so worried about the very wealthy, well-taken care of, Wall Street, hedge fund, finance, top-paid lawyers. They can take care of themselves,” she continued.
Hochul proposed salaries starting at around $250,000 would begin to see non-compete agreements. While it isn’t a complete ban, it’s a clear compromise that will have a positive impact on workers. But for those in favor of the initial bill, a compromise would miss a huge opportunity.
If the bill goes forward unchanged, New York could join California, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma as one of the few states that has completely banned non-compete agreements.