September 21, 2023

US DOL & FTC Sign MOU to Enforce Antitrust Laws

Today, the FTC announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the U.S. Department of Labor to protect workers by promoting competitive U.S. labor markets and putting an end to unfair, deceptive, and other unlawful acts and practices, as well as unfair methods of competition, that harm workers. Two areas of focus are “one-sided contract terms” that “restrict accessible opportunities to our growing workforce” and labor developments in the “gig economy” to protect workers from “unlawful business practices.”

This follows the:

  • January 5, 2023, announcement that the FTC would propose a rule to effectively ban non-competes, which they did on January 19, 2023; and
  • July 19, 2022, MOU the FTC signed with the National Labor Relations Board for the same or a similar purpose.

The MOU identifies areas of mutual interest for the two agencies:

  • collusive behavior such as no-poaching and wage fixing
  • misclassification of employees as independent contractors;
  • illegal claims and disclosures about earnings and costs associated with work;
  • one-sided and restrictive contract provisions, such as non-compete and training repayment agreement provisions;
  • the impact of algorithmic decision-making, such as by the use of AI, on workers; and more.

Dot your i’s and cross your T’s. If you use any employment agreements, have any policies, or practices that address competition, non-disparagement, confidentiality, solicitation, and more, ensure you have had them reviewed by legal counsel.  Also, ensure you are complying with federal and state laws, many of which are more restrictive than federal rules.