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Nobel Laureate: Noncompetes for Low-Wage Workers Are Harmful


Posted on Jul 25, 2018

In a recent interview with Business Insider that was primarily focused the progressing income gap in the United States, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Sir Angus Deaton, chose to address what, in his view, is one of the culprits in preventing wage growth for some of the poorer segments of the population:

Non-competes for low-wage workers.

Here's one of his money quotes:

"How many hamburger flippers have lawyers? How many lawyers would take a case from a hamburger flipper? So, this is sort of intimidation, and again people are saying, "Well, that's illegal, you know, we shouldn't be able to do this."

Without question (and not that he needs my agreement), Sir Deaton raises a critical issue, which is not limited to the non-compete context, but to commercial litigation in general, namely:

What, if anything, can be done to prevent scenarios where lower-income individuals (or businesses) are denied access to the justice system, not because their claims (or defenses) lack merit, but simply because it's not economically feasible to help them? Put differently, what can be done to assure that it isn't, or doesn't become, simply a question of "How much justice can you afford?"

 

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Jonathan Cooper
Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer