New York’s governor vetoed a bill days before Christmas that would have banned noncompete agreements, which restrict workers’ ability to leave their job for a role with a rival business.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who said she tried to work with the Legislature on a “reasonable compromise” this year, called the bill “a one-size-fits-all-approach” for New York companies legitimately trying to retain top talent.

“I continue to recognize the urgent need to restrict non-compete agreements for middle-class and low-wage workers, and am open to future legislation that achieves the right balance,” she wrote in a veto letter released Saturday.

The veto is a blow to labor groups, who have long argued that the agreements hurt workers and stifle economic growth. The Federal Trade Commission had also sent a letter to Hochul in November, urging her to sign the bill and saying that the agreements can harm innovation and prevent new businesses from forming in the state.

  • FluffyPotato@lemmy.world
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    6 months ago

    How are contracts like this enforceable in the US? Like here you could have a clause like that but the moment you try to sue someone for working at a competitor the judge would just laugh at you and throw your ass out of court. You can’t have just anything in a contract, just like if a contract breaks employment laws then it’s not valid.

    • Ook the Librarian@lemmy.world
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      6 months ago

      Most contracts have a severability clause saying if any clause is unenforceable then that clause shall be severed, but the rest stands. This lets companies take some big swings with what they put in there.

      It takes time and money and stress for a worker to challenge any terms regardless of their merit. So an invalid contract still keeps you down, just not as strongly as the invalid contract itself claims to be.

    • ZeroTemp@lemmy.world
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      6 months ago

      They are rarely enforced and when they are it is usually due to some sort of significant financial loss the company suffered. Normally a company is not going to waste time and money taking a cook or cashier to court over quitting a job at McDonald’s then going to work Burger King. But a senior software engineer working at Google going to work for Apple could have some real financial implications, so they’d be more likely to pursue legal action against that person. Still kinda bullshit in my mind but I get it.

      • psmgx@lemmy.world
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        6 months ago

        Yeah but California has already banned non-competes, has for years, and Google and Apple seem to be doing just fine with the financial implications.

        Also non-competes are different from NDAs.

      • Maggoty@lemmy.world
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        6 months ago

        There’s still protections. Apple just got rocked for stealing the entire dev team from somewhere and just wholesale copying the code. Which is on Apple, not the worker. They could absolutely have taken them for an adjacent project (it was sensors in smart watches) using the same sensors. Or paid a licensing agreement for what was there with a right to improve it.

      • AA5B@lemmy.world
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        6 months ago

        But a senior software engineer working at Google going to work for Apple could have some real financial implications

        No, unless you mean something quite different than that title. A large company will have hundreds or even thousands of senior software engineers, and it’s really not something that should be restricted with non-competes

        To be valid, a non-compete should:

        • be subject to contract law, not just imposed
        • include recompense
        • not prevent you from getting a job
        • be narrowly tailored (ie, not prevent someone from working)
        • limited duration
        • can only apply to a few where the impact can be described or quantified: founders, executives, celebrities, top sales people with same customers
    • theneverfox@pawb.social
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      6 months ago

      They don’t have to actually enforce it, they just have to scare you with it. Or better yet, convince you they could enforce it