Restrictive covenants or noncompetes in employment are a contentious topic (ASA Monitor 2020;84:1-18). If a proposed rule issued in January 2023 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is adopted, most employers in the United States will be foreclosed from requiring employees to agree to post-termination noncompete agreements (Fed Reg 2023;88:3482-3546). This article will explore the key provisions of the proposed rule, the next steps in the regulatory process, and the implications for anesthesiologists and anesthesiology practices.

What led the FTC to issue its proposed rule?

Federal and state antitrust laws are aimed at promoting competition, and the FTC's concern with the effect of noncompetes in employment is not new. The preamble to the proposed FTC rule explains that the FTC began to focus on noncompete clauses in the mid-2010s and that it held hearings and workshops from 2018-2021 addressing, among other topics, the use of noncompetes...

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