The Colorado legislature recently passed a bill, now awaiting the governor’s signature, which will substantially limit the ability to enforce non-compete agreements against any workers other than those who are deemed “highly compensated.” In addition, the new law will impose new, stringent notice requirements and penalties if employers fail to comply with the new statutory requirements. If the governor signs the bill, which he is expected to do, the law will go into effect this August, giving employers only a few months to put into place processes to ensure compliance with the law’s new requirements. This bill comes on the heels of a recent change to Colorado’s non-compete law which criminalized the enforcement of non-compete agreements that violate its general non-compete statute.
Colorado’s non-compete statute, C.R.S. § 8-2-113, was relatively unchanged for the roughly four decades from 1982, when it was enacted, until 2021. The law generally prohibited agreements not to compete but excepted restrictive covenants in contracts for the purchase of a business or its assets, agreements to protect trade secrets, and agreements with executive and management personnel and their professional staff. It also allowed employers to recover the expense of educating and training employees who left employment less than two years after being hired. And while the law made non-compete agreements with physicians void, it permitted the recovery of monetary damages against a physician who breached the agreement, though not against physicians treating patients with rare medical conditions. In 2021, the Colorado legislature amended the law to make an employer’s violation of the law a Class 2 misdemeanor. Continue reading ›