The letter, addressed to FTC Chair Lina M. Khan and signed by Wilson, summarizes many of the issues he and other cardiologists have had over the years with the use of noncompete clauses. These clauses can restrict patient access to certain caregivers, for example, and the can delay care for patients dealing with “complex and/or chronic conditions.” Also, Wilson noted, noncompete clauses can “stifle innovation” and result in high levels of stress for physicians who seek a career change.
The ACC letter did note that certain exceptions exist when it may still make sense for an employer to include a noncompete clause in a contract. For example, as restricting and disruptive as these clauses can be when applied to entire states or large areas, it may make sense in certain scenarios to include a noncompete clause that covers just a single facility or location.
Also, the ACC wrote that “it would seem reasonable” for employers to recoup money in certain instances when an employee leaves earlier than expected in a manner that goes against the original contract.
“For instance, if an employer offers to pay off $10,000 of a prospective employee’s student loans if they agree to work for the employer for five years,” Wilson wrote. “It would not be unreasonable for the employment contract to require a pro-rated amount of that $10,000 to be paid back if the employee should leave prior to five years.”
Wilson concluded the letter by thanking the FTC for the opportunity to comment.
“We generally support the commission’s stated intent to consider noncompete clauses an unfair method of competition while acknowledging some extremely limited forms and usage of the practice may be reasonable,” he wrote.
The full ACC letter is available here.
Additional details about this proposal are available here.