As of October 1, 2019, Maryland joined other states across the nation by enacting the Noncompete and Conflict of Interest Clause Act (NCICA) to prohibit non-compete clauses and conflict of interest clauses for employees who earn equal to or less than $15.00/hour or $31,200 annually. The State of Maryland has deemed non-compete and conflict of interest clauses for lower paid employees to be against public policy and considers them null and void. Significantly, the NCICA prevents enforcement of non-competition clauses even while such employees are still employed. The law does not, however, place any limitations on agreements which restrict the use or possession of proprietary client-related materials and information.
The NCICA does not provide any penalty for an employer who compels an employee to enter into a prohibited agreement, nor does it allow employees to sue employers who require them to sign the prohibited agreements. Rather employees will likely rely on the NCICA as a defense to a claim by their employer that they have violated a non-compete provision.
If you are a Maryland employer and need assistance with Maryland employment law changes such as NCICA, please contact Luchansky Millman for a consultation.