As of October 1, Maryland employers will be banned from requiring a current or prospective employee to agree to a noncompete clause if that employee earns $19.88 or less per hour (approximately $41,350 annually). Currently, the threshold for allowing non-compete clauses is $15 per hour (approximately $31,200), but the new law increases the threshold to 150% of the state minimum wage.
Due to the recently passed Fair Wage Act of 2023, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour on January 1, 2024, making the threshold for non-compete clauses increase once again to $22.50 per hour (approximately $46,800).
What Is a Non-Compete Clause?
Non-compete clauses, also known as covenants not to compete (CNC), are provisions found in employment contracts that prohibit employees from working for or starting a competitive business during and after their employment period. These clauses are designed to protect the employer's proprietary information, trade secrets, and customer relationships.
The enforceability of non-compete clauses varies significantly across different states in the United States. For instance, California, North Dakota, and Oklahoma have largely prohibited these agreements. New York is also considering a ban on non-competes.
Recently, there has been increasing scrutiny of non-compete clauses. Critics argue that they limit employees' job mobility, suppress wages, and stifle innovation by preventing workers from bringing new ideas to rival companies.
Despite these criticisms and potential legal changes, non-compete clauses remain a common feature in many employment contracts, especially in industries where trade secrets and proprietary knowledge are key competitive advantages. However, the future of non-compete clauses remains uncertain as lawmakers and regulators continue to debate their merits and drawbacks.
Emejuru Law Protects Workers
If you are a Maryland employee who has been asked to sign a non-compete clause, or if your employer is trying to enforce an existing non-compete agreement against you, the experienced employment lawyers at Emejuru Law can help protect your rights as a worker.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling such cases and will work diligently on behalf of our clients to ensure that their rights are protected under the law. We will review any agreements presented by employers and provide sound legal advice so that our clients can make informed decisions about whether or not they want to sign them. Furthermore, if an employer attempts to enforce an existing agreement against one of our clients without just cause, we are prepared to take all necessary legal action on their behalf.
Our firm offers personalized services tailored specifically for each client’s case. We never treat any two cases alike – instead, we strive to get the best possible outcome for each client through creative problem solving and strategic negotiation techniques with opposing counsel.
If you need legal assistance with non-compete clause issues in Maryland, please contact us online or call us at (240) 607-5552 for a confidential consultation.