Maine: Restrictions on non-competition and redundancy obligations The new law defines “low-wage workers” primarily as workers earning hours below or equal to 200% of the federal minimum wage (workers currently earning $14.50 or less per hour). In principle, the new law defines the “non-competition agreement” as an agreement between an employer and a low-wage employee that prevents low wages from working for another employer. In the past, employers have faced the need to introduce non-competition provisions with existing workers, and there is no doubt that they will continue to do so. These situations are common when an employer that has never implemented such agreements acknowledges that it needs it to protect its good revalence and confidential information, and when an employee has taken on new or other tasks that suspend the employee from the client`s good or overvalued or confidential information. Under the new law, employers can only impose non-competition bans in these situations by changing workers` employment classifications and providing them with a copy of the non-competition prohibitions associated with offers of new job classifications. In the absence of such changes in employment classifications, employers cannot introduce a non-compete ban in these situations, even if employers provide reasonable compensation to workers in exchange for the signing of non-compete agreements. In any contractual agreement, both parties must give and receive something valuable, also known as a consideration. The New Hampshire courts have held that the initial or maintenance offer of employment is a sufficient consideration or benefit to the worker in exchange for his or her willingness not to compete with the employer when the employment relationship ends. New Hampshire has passed legislation requiring employers to submit to candidates and workers any non-compete agreement or “non-counterfeiting” agreement required before or at the time a job offer or offer of change in the job classification is made to the individual. If such an agreement is not made available to the applicant or employee before or in connection with the offer, the agreement is legally considered “inconclusive and unenforceable”. The law came into force on July 14, 2012.

Agreements may be considered unenforceable when a court considers them inappropriate in terms of duration, geographic scope and nature of employment or activity. If a court finds an agreement inappropriate, it can amend the agreement so that it does not unduly violate the former employee`s ability to work. July 10, 2019, New Hampshire amended its Non-Competition Act and ordered: Any non-compete agreement between an employer and a low-wage worker is null and void.3 The amendment (SB 197) defines low-wage workers as people earning an hourly rate of 200% or less than the federal minimum wage (i.e. workers who currently earn US$14.50 or less per hour or about US$30,160 per hour) year). The law applies to all non-competition prohibitions that will be concluded on or after September 8, 2019. On the West Coast, Washington joined the group earlier this year by limiting competition bans to employees earning less than $100,000 a year (and $250,000 a year for contractors). Washington`s statute, like Maine`s, provides for additional restrictions such as the obligation to link existing employees to a non-compete obligation, to limit the time limit for authorized agreements to 18 months, and to allow employees to recover their legal fees, fees and claims (or a $5,000 fine) if a federal law change is required to make it enforceable.