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Based on comments she recently made to the press, it appears that she supports a non-compete ban for lower to middle wage earners. Governor Hochul, however, also appears to support a carve-out to the ban, which would permit employers to impose non-compete agreements on higher-wage earners. As such, the pending New York legislation, which sought to ban all non-compete agreements, seems unlikely to become law in its current form.

Quick Hits

  • Governor Hochul said she would support legislation that would subject employees who earn at least $250,000 to non-compete agreements.
  • The governor recently rejected a bill that would have banned all non-compete agreements.

On June 7, 2023, the New York State Senate approved a bill (Bill No. S3100A) that would have banned all non-compete agreements. The New York State Assembly approved the bill on June 20 and sent it to the governor. Governor Hochul did not sign the legislation.

A news source reported that Governor Hochul told reporters on November 30, 2023, “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.” It was reported that she also said, “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.” News sources reported that she proposed that employees who earn at least $250,000 could be subject to non-compete agreements.

Next Steps

In light of Governor Hochul’s comments, New York employers should expect to see revised legislation regarding non-competes.

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates on the New York and Unfair Competition and Trade Secrets blogs.

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