(Authors' note: Since the publishing of this post, the legislation outlined below was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on May 8, 2019)
On April 17, the Washington Legislature approved sweeping new restrictions on employers’ non-competition agreements with their employees and independent contractors.
The bill, now headed to the Governor’s desk for his expected signature, means that after January 1, 2020, non-competition agreements (see definition and limitations below) will only be enforceable against higher-paid employees and contractors, and generally can last no longer than 18 months.
The law also carries a sting: If a court or arbitrator finds that a covenant violates these new rules, the entity which seeks enforcement of such a provision may be liable for actual or statutory damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.
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Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.