Non-competes: Ensuring the District Remains a Competitive Place to Do Business
By August 17, 2022 0 847•
At the Council, I have a responsibility to legislate in a way that will protect District residents, ensure all who are reading the law have a clear sense of their obligations, opportunities, or limitations, and also be strategic about the future success of the District within the region. We must remain a competitive place to do businesses and we must protect workers.
At the last Council meeting in July before summer recess, the Council passed a policy on non-compete agreements that both protects low and middle income earners while also ensuring our businesses can compete with businesses in neighboring jurisdictions.
For over a year and a-half, I worked with Council colleagues, the DC Chamber of Commerce, the consortium of universities, and other stakeholders on crafting a reasonable and workable standard for our city to protect workers – particularly low and middle wage earners – from overly broad and harmful non competes that keep workers out of the work place.
This work was critical to prevent the District from implementing a complete ban on non-compete agreements – what would have been the most extensive law in the country and one that would put the District starkly out of line with other jurisdictions in the region, harming our ability to draw businesses to our city. During the legislative process, I introduced an amendment that passed and is now included in the non-compete bill, establishing a $150,000 threshold before non-compete agreements can be used. This level of earning represents the District’s top 15 percent of wage earners who are often more likely to have access to proprietary or sensitive information as a result of their position. Allowing businesses to use non-compete agreements in these circumstances can help maintain a competitive business environment as we work to improve conditions for new and existing businesses in our city.
While the new non-compete legislation will become effective this fall, the work to support our businesses and workers is far from over. I will continue to work with the Executive, our agencies, neighbors, businesses, Main Streets, and Business Improvement Districts to stay on the path of a robust and resilient economic recovery.
Brooke Pinto (D) is the District Council Member for Ward 2.