LANSING, Mich., April 13, 2023State Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mount Clemens) introduced House Bill 4399 yesterday. This bill would protect workers from being forced to sign non-compete agreements for what are legally referred to as “low-wage jobs,” such as those jobs in the fast-food industry, janitorial services or gig-economy delivery businesses.

Companies hiring workers across Michigan, particularly in service industry positions, often require them to sign non-compete agreements, banning them from utilizing any skills gained in those jobs on behalf of another employer within a certain area, including on their own behalf as an independent small business owner.  Such non-compete agreements have been banned by statute in California, Oklahoma and North Dakota, while some companies — such as the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s — have removed them from use in Illinois and New York after legal battles with those states’ attorneys general.

“The use of non-compete agreements for workers who do the jobs that make our lives easier, such as making our coffees and lunches and cleaning our office buildings, is absurd,” Mentzer said. “By preventing workers across the labor force from pursuing higher pay, seeking better working conditions, or starting their own small business, these non-compete agreements hurt workers and harm Michigan.

“If employers don’t want to lose their workers to competition, they should treat their employees well. There’s nothing proprietary in need of protection in these jobs. I’m proud to stand with working Michiganders today against corporations seeking to eliminate competition through the unscrupulous use of these agreements.”

HB 4399 was introduced alongside several other bills aiming to eliminate corporate payroll fraud. The bills have been referred to committees for review.