FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — President Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order last week aimed at anti-competitive practices, saying “capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation.”
A Fort Wayne lawyer who deals with labor and employment law says little has changed – yet.
“The practical effect, as we sit here today is nothing, to be quite honest,” explained H. Joseph Cohen, a partner with Barrett McNagny LLP. “This is just a directive.”
The sweeping order includes 72 actions and recommendations that Biden said would lower prices for families, increase wages for workers and promote innovation and faster economic growth, including calls for banning or limiting noncompete agreements to help boost wages.
If a local judge were to decide on a non-compete in court today, Cohen does not think Biden’s order would be a factor. “I don’t believe this executive order would even be relevant as to whether something should be enforceable or not enforceable.”
Cohen added that states treat non-compete contracts very differently. Indiana is more friendly to management; Illinois favors workers. That system could change with federal intervention.
“The feds will certainly try to come up with some limitations (to non-competes),” said Cohen. “Maybe if the employee doesn’t make X amount of money or if an employee doesn’t have a certain type of position, then they could be excluded from noncompetes.”
Some Democratic lawmakers have suggested Congressional action should follow Biden’s move.