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A Cleveland employment lawyer explains how noncompete agreements work

A photograph of the Federal Trade Commission Building
Alex Brandon
The Federal Trade Commission building in Washington is pictured on Jan. 28, 2015. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing a new rule that would prevent employers from imposing noncompete clauses on their workers.

If you don’t like your current job or salary, chances are you might start looking for a new job with better pay. For workers with a noncompete agreement or clause in their contract, leaving is not so easy. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that about one in five American workers, or roughly 30 million people, work under a noncompete agreement. The agreements prevent a worker from leaving to go to a competitor or starting a competing business usually within a certain geographic or specified time frame after leaving a job.

The noncompete agreements can protect a company against loss of proprietary information. The agreements are increasingly being used in a variety of fields, including lower-income jobs. Those opposed to the agreements say they suppress wages and competition for workers and disproportionately impact women and people of color in the workforce. On Wednesday's the "Sound of Ideas," we are going to discuss noncompete agreements with an employment law expert.

Later in the show, the Cleveland International Film Festival is kicking off its 47th year. The festival will be held at Playhouse Square. This year a new series will be featured among the 199 short films. Homegrown: Future Visions is a collection of midwestern stories documented by emerging BIPOC filmmakers presented by Firelight Media.

-Ann-Marie Ahern, Esq, Principal, Employment Group, McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman, Co
-Chloe Walters-Wallace, Director of Regional Initiatives for Firelight Media
-Hao Zhou, Filmmaker

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."
Jay Shah was an associate producer for the “Sound of Ideas” until May 2024.