Small business owners support banning non-compete agreements

Non-compete agreements are an obstacle to entrepreneurship, create a non-level playing field and stop employees from using their skills. They are not only a barrier to entry for entrepreneurs, but they also prevent small businesses from hiring the most diverse, qualified and skilled talent. In January, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule to ban non-compete agreements and sought input from the public. More than 400 small business owners and business organizations signed on to our letter urging the FTC to enact its proposed rule to ban non-compete agreements. 

Read feedback from small business owners in our network about the importance of banning non-compete agreements.

Jacob Hanson - PR with Panache, Minnesota 

“I can only do so much to keep people here. I simply make it difficult for them to want to leave. The best way I can go about it is do what I can to make them stay. I see how companies use non-competes as a weapon and harass people. They inhibit their ability to provide for their families. I think that there needs to be more education for employees. From what I've witnessed, I think non-competes are used to penalize employees and people are manipulated. Companies are really smart about how they use them.” 

Jean Underwood - Design Mavens Architecture, Illinois 

“I think it’s a hindrance to people that want to start a small business. I think it’s ridiculous. I didn’t have a choice but to sign it. I was looking at a promotion and was told what’s the big deal? You’re not going anywhere, just sign it. It turns out the agreement wasn’t well written, however enforceable in the state of Illinois. I had to wait one year before being able to start the business with my partners.” 

Tracy DuCharme - Color Me Mine, Colorado 

“I honestly think doing a better job at your business is the way you compete, not by squashing the competition with legal arguments. I can’t control any business except my own, and I succeed if I do a great job with my business. I hope to corner the market on Paint Your Own Pottery in my area just by being awesome at it. I have no problem with disallowing non-competes in most situations." 

Shirley Modlin - 3D Design and Manufacturing, LLC, Virginia 

“I have never believed that any employer has the right to restrict opportunities of workers as relative to the worker's well-being and that of their family. As workers gain skills and experience throughout their careers, they must be allowed to use that knowledge to further their livelihoods in ways that are in their best interest.”  

Mike Roach - Paloma Clothing, Oregon 

“I really believe this new ban on non-competes is a very good thing for most small businesses and that it would increase the new small business formation rate. I appreciate the new thinking of the president in proposing it.” 

Filipe Monteiro - Guardian Capital Security, Massachusetts 

“It’s not fair to them. I understand life changes and is very difficult at this time. So, if they have a better opportunity and a better chance, I won't prevent that. I call it a containment of control. It’s like being in prison if I'm making you sign a non-compete but the guy next door has a security company to pay you $3 an hour more and it's within a mile distance from your home. I can totally understand.” 

Leo Carr - Elite Group, Michigan 

“Non-compete agreements tend to only benefit the previous employer. Employees working under the mandates of a non-compete agreement are restricted from seeking new employment, preventing them from opportunities to earn more in wages, upward mobility with another company, etc. It prevents the employee from capitalizing on their own skills and knowledge. This is particularly unfair to people who have worked diligently towards self-improvement and have acquired and developed new skills but are restricted to using them for one employer only.

This causes undue stress and psychological burden on employees under the guise of non-compete agreements when they contemplate or actually try to move on from their employer or company. They might need to seek legal employment law assistance and thus incur some costs.”  

Monica Jackson - Jackson Family Child Care and Foster Family Respite Care, Virginia 

“If there are people going out to work, those individuals need my support. There’s more of them than just me that can do what I do... But our business is so unique that you can come here and become accustomed to my services. It would be hard to duplicate it if that's your motive. You have to feel confident in what you do. I encourage people to know what their talents and skills are because you can do something that nobody else can. You were put here for a reason. I believe that the more I give, the more that I get back. I don't always get it back from where I give. It’s the giving part and the gratitude associated with giving.”