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NAM Poll: Noncompete Ban Would Be Harmful

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to ban noncompete agreements, but doing so would disrupt the operations of most manufacturers, according to the findings of a recent NAM poll.

What’s going on: In February, the NAM polled manufacturing leaders to learn their thoughts on the impact of the FTC’s proposed rule, which would prohibit employers from imposing noncompete agreements on employees. Among the poll’s key takeaways:

  • Approximately 70% of respondent manufacturers use noncompete agreements.
  • The ban would cause a disruption to approximately 66% of manufacturers.
  • The majority of manufacturers—about 89%—said they use noncompetes that last from six months to two years.
  • Approximately half of manufacturers polled said a ban would have a negative impact on their investment in training and related programs.

Why it’s important: “Manufacturers use noncompete agreements only for select workers handling their most sensitive information, which cannot be allowed to fall into competitors’ hands,” said NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling.

  • “These agreements are critical for protecting intellectual property. Banning them would force companies to completely change the way they operate and the way teams work together—disrupting workplaces, jeopardizing their ability to develop important new products and ultimately hurting customers.”

What should be done: If the FTC insists on moving forward with a noncompete rule, it should withdraw its current proposal and put forth a more tailored version “with exemptions clearly articulated and justified for the public’s consideration,” NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Brian Walsh told the agency Tuesday.

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