Based on longstanding statutory authority, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) just issued a regulation that prohibits noncompete “agreements” regarding all employees – including senior executives. This transformative regulation also invalidates existing noncompete agreements concerning all employees but senior executives. The FTC developed and implemented the regulation because noncompete agreements have significantly restricted millions of employees from transitioning to different employers in their field and, consequently, limited employees’ ability to earn a living and advance in their field. Although this new regulation does not ban all training repayment “agreements,” commonly know as TRAPs, the FTC’s action prohibits TRAPs as well when they function as noncompete agreements.

Also based on clear statutory provisions, set forth in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued a regulation that enhances employee rights in the civil rights area. In particular, the governing regulation requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations for restrictions related to pregnancy, childbirth, and/or related medical conditions. Such reasonable accommodations may include time off for medical appointments, temporary reassignment, and/or telework. Importantly, this regulation promulgated by the EEOC makes plain that “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” under the law includes seeking and/or receiving abortion care. In other words, employers must permit employees to take time from work for abortion procedures and recovery. Religion-based objections made by employers to accommodations in the abortion context will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly based on well-established statutory authority, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) just issued a regulation to modernize overtime protections for employees. Analysts expect the resulting expansion of overtime pay guarantees will extend protections to nearly 4.5 million additional employees and increase earnings by approximately $1.5 billion annually. Once fully implemented in the next six months, the vital regulation will mandate that salaried employees making less than $58,655 per year are paid the overtime premium rate (1.5 times their regular rate of pay) when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Given the time value of money, including higher inflation rates caused by predatory pricing, the DOL’s regulation will automatically increase the salary threshold for overtime premium pay every three years starting in 2027.

These regulatory reforms are as positive as they are long overdue, and they have been praised across the country in nearly all quarters. The main exception is among corporate elites. They have responded by suing in an effort to prevent these vital legal requirements from being enforced going forward.