In a groundbreaking move aimed at fostering fair competition and empowering workers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule last week to ban noncompete agreements nationwide. This ruling may carry profound implications for the construction industry, prompting construction businesses to reassess their practices and ensure compliance while maintaining competitiveness. Let’s explore how construction companies, large and small, can navigate this regulatory shift effectively.

Understanding the Impact

Noncompete clauses have long been a staple in employment contracts within the construction sector, often used to protect proprietary information and retain skilled talent. However, the FTC’s ban on noncompetes demands a reevaluation of these practices. Employers must recognize the potential consequences of noncompliance, including legal repercussions and reputational damage, and take proactive steps to adapt to the new regulatory landscape.

Communications with Employees

The FTC rule requires employers to provide a form notice of non-enforcement to all present and former employees subject to an unexpired noncompete provisions. However, given the immediate legal challenges to the FTC’s rule and the fact that the 120-day compliance window has not yet begun, there is no reason to take immediate action or begin notifying employees. Instead, business owners should wait for at least 60 days before taking concrete action in response to the rule to see if any court temporarily enjoins the effectiveness of the rule.

Assessing Existing Agreements

Assuming the rule goes into effect, however, it will apply to almost all employers who use noncompete provisions. The first step for employers in the construction industry is to conduct a thorough review of existing noncompete agreements within your workforce. Identify employees who are currently bound by noncompetes and assess the scope and enforceability of these agreements in light of the FTC’s ruling. It’s crucial to understand which agreements may remain enforceable, particularly for senior executives, and which will be nullified under the new rule.

Exploring Alternatives

In the absence of noncompete agreements, construction companies must explore alternative strategies to protect their interests and proprietary information. Consider implementing robust trade secret policies and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to safeguard sensitive data and intellectual property, as well as non-solicitation provisions to protect customer relationships. These measures offer effective protection while preserving workforce mobility and fostering a culture of innovation.

Preparing for the Future

As the construction industry adapts to the regulatory changes, employers must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing evolving workforce dynamics. Even if the rule is delayed or nullified for some reason, there has been a move by many states in recent years to limit the use of noncompetes. Stay informed about developments in labor law and regulatory guidance from the FTC to ensure ongoing compliance. Continuously evaluate and refine employment practices to promote fairness, competitiveness, and employee retention in a post-noncompete era.


The FTC’s ban on noncompetes potentially represents a seismic shift in employment practices within the construction industry, which (if deemed lawful) necessitates a swift and strategic action from employers. By understanding the implications of the new rule, limiting communications with employees, and implementing alternative strategies for protection, the construction industry can navigate this transition with confidence. Embracing a culture of fair competition and innovation will not only ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, but also foster a more dynamic and resilient workforce for the future.