On January 11, 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020. The Act bans the use of non-competes by employers in the District of Columbia, except for a few narrow exceptions related to medical specialists. Although signed by the Mayor, the Act will not go into effect until the conclusion of a 30-day Congressional review. Experts do not anticipate Congress will block the legislation from becoming law.
The new ban would be the strongest prohibition to-date against non-competes in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. Maryland law currently prohibits non-completes for workers earning less than $15 an hour or $31,200 a year.
Scope of the Non-Compete Ban
The Act is a broad prohibition against non-competes, and states that “[n]o employer may require or request that an employee sign an agreement that includes a non-compete provision.” Any such non-compete provision entered into on or after the date upon which the Act becomes law is void as a matter of law and therefore unenforceable. Moreover, D.C. employers cannot enact a workplace policy that prohibits an employee from being employed by another person, performing work or providing services to another person, or operating their own business.
The Act also prohibits an employer from retaliating or threatening to retaliate against an employee for reasons related to unenforceable non-competes.
The D.C. Act only has a few narrow exceptions. An employer can ask a medical specialist to sign a non-compete agreement if that person holds a license to practice medicine, completed a medical residency, and makes at least $250,000 per year. The ban also does not apply to volunteers, casual babysitters, and lay members elected to office of religious organizations.
Freedman Law, LLC regularly advises employees and businesses engulfed in non-compete disputes. Please email me at [email protected], or call us at 301-750-9766 if you need assistance with a non-compete agreement.