News & Commentary

April 25, 2024

Luke Hinrichs

Luke Hinrichs is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentaries, FTC issues final rule banning noncompete agreements; DOL publishes final rule raising salary threshold for overtime pay, increasing eligibility; and Congressional Labor Caucus sends letter urging JetBlue to agree to remain neutral toward workers’ unionization efforts.

On Tuesday, April 23, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to issue its final “Non-Compete Clause Rule” pursuant to sections 5 and 6(g) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The final rule bans new noncompetes for all workers, including senior executives. For existing noncompetes, the restrictive agreements are non-enforceable for all workers other than senior executives. Although the FTC declined to categorically prohibit training repayment agreements, or TRAPs, the final rule will apply to TRAPs when they substantively function as non-competes.  The rule will go in effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register. However, two lawsuits challenging the rulemaking have already been filed in the Eastern District and Northern District of Texas.

The US Department of Labor published its final rule updating overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The action is expected to expand overtime protections to 4.3 million workers and increase the wages of working people by $1.5 billion annually. When the rule is fully phased in on January 1, 2025, salaried workers making less than $1,128 per week—or $58,656 per year for a full-time, full-year worker—are required to be paid an overtime premium at a rate of time and a half (1.5x) their regular pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The rule covers manager, supervisor, or highly credentialed professional as well. In 2027, the threshold will start to automatically increase every three years to reflect changes in average earnings.

The Congressional Labor Caucus sent a letter, signed by 160 Congress members, to JetBlue CEO Joanna Geraghty encouraging the company to adopt a neutrality agreement as the Transport Workers Union (TWU) continues their efforts to unionize JetBlue workers. TWU, which currently represents roughly 7,000 JetBlue flight attendants, is engaging in a unionization campaign to organize JetBlue’s estimated 1,000 mechanics and 100 dispatchers. The congressional letter was sent in response to “instances of anti-organizing interference at JetBlue from management.”

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