An article by Liz Fedor in the February 2020 issue of Twin Cities Business magazine entitled “Backlash Against Non-Competes – Is Minnesota Getting Ready to Restrict Their Applicability?” features commentary by V. John Ella that the “overuse of non-compete agreements has spawned ‘an incipient reform movement'” in Minnesota. The article discussed the increase in the use of non-competes in Minnesota and the potential economic impact on employee mobility and wages. The article noted that “when companies need hire workers it’s a major complication when they are covered by non-compete agreements.” Attorney Steven Smith of the Nichols Kaster firm was also quoted on the employee side, along with Avner Ben-Ner, a professor at the Carlson School of Management.
Professor Ben-Ner explained that “It is in the interest of an employer to keep an employee who will not have any option except to work for this employer, [but] it is in the interest of the employer to have a mobile labor workforce in general, so they can get the employees they need.”
The author pointed out that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, along with 18 other attorneys general, recently urged the Federal Trade Commission to classify abusive worker non-compete clauses as an unfair method of competition. There is increasing attention in the Minnesota business community on the use of non-competes and even discussion of possible limitations by the Minnesota legislature.
V. John Ella is a Minnesota non-compete attorney.