Texas courts are increasingly challenging restrictive free speech agreements, where restricted activity also includes commercial communications. A concegable decision by the Texas Court of Appeals shows that this strategy has its limits. The Heffler Claims Group tracks all non-competitive contractual messages on employment and work rights in the making. Contact us to discuss how we can help your firm in current or future class actions. There are several reasons why we are seeing an increase in the number of cases related to non-professional and non-competitive clauses: over the past decade, non-competition clauses and non-poach agreements have appeared on the agenda of federal and regional legislators, attorneys general and antitrust authorities. Two recent reports from the federal agency have addressed the issue. The Ministry of Justice has repeatedly warned of poaching violations, but has not yet initiated criminal charges. In recent years, lawmakers and government authorities have encouraged reforms, both nationally and federally, limiting the use of competition bans and other restrictive alliances of U.S. companies. Some of these efforts have focused on agreements that restrict the ability of a party to recruit and/or hire staff who are not party to these agreements. In Hieber v. Percheron Holdings, LLC, 14-19-00505-CV (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] November 14, 2019) Percheron Holdings, LLC (« Percheron ») sued Hieber, a former commercial director, for violating a competition and non-invitation agreement based on Hieber`s employment with a Percheron competitor and on alleged communications with Percheron customers during branch meetings and social functions.
Hieber responded by taking legal action under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (« TCPA » or « Act »). The statements of Professor Starr and Mr. Lettieri largely supported the Workforce Mobility Act of 2019, which would completely ban non-competition bans in the traditional employment context. Both felt that employers could protect their legitimate business interests through less restrictive measures, including non-call agreements for customers, agreements prohibiting the use or disclosure of trade secrets, and the enforcement of federal and regional trade secrets laws. Professor Starr and Mr. Lettieri also spoke in favour of new measures to protect workers, including: politicians from across the political spectrum have engaged in non-compete agreements to contribute to the steady decline of economic dynamism in the United States. Economists have shown that these rules, which spread rapidly, discourage entrepreneurship, prevent workers from earning what a competitive market would dictate and slow the natural exodus from the labour market, increasing wages, increasing productivity and making the economy healthy. In this letter, Evan Starr, a professor at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, examines the latest empirical findings in this emerging field of science and outlines the options for reform being considered.