House passes bill banning excessive non-compete agreements

OLYMPIA – On Tuesday, the Washington State House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) aiming to curb abusive non-compete agreements.

“There are many reasons why someone might want to leave one job and accept a new one.  Non-competition agreements take that choice away from the employee, and instead, let the boss decide whether to allow the employee to leave for that new job.  This is unfair and unnecessary,” said Stanford. “Businesses have plenty of tools to protect their interests without taking away an employee’s basic right to leave for a better job.”

Over 20% of American workers are subject to non-compete clauses in their contracts, including janitors, hair-stylists, technology workers, doctors, musicians, and fast-food workers. Non-compete clauses typically require a worker to wait for a year or more after leaving one employer before they can work for another company in the same industry.

“Telling hard-working people that they have to sit out of the workforce for a year in order to change jobs is completely unrealistic and a terrible waste. The effect is that these workers can’t leave or seek a better job,” said Stanford. “By limiting the use of non-compete agreements, this bill will give strong new protections to workers who simply want to make their own career choices.”

The bill, HB 1450, will now move to the Senate for consideration.