Connecticut Bans Noncompetes, Eases Franchise Rules

Connecticut has joined Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington as states that ban noncompete clauses in broadcaster contracts (California bans them in all industries), according o the American Federation of Television and Radio Employees, who had pushed for the law.

The clauses prevent, say, an anchor at one station from leaving and immediately appearing on a competitor.

A law prohibiting the clause was signed by Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell.

Ironically, the bill applies to radio and TV station employees, but not to cable. Ironic because the bill was prompted by an incident in which a new company providing security at ESPN in Bristol could not hire the guards used by the previous company because they had signed a noncompete agreement. The bill was expanded beyond security guards to include broadcast employees.

 "This law safeguards the right of workers to pursue their careers without having to uproot their family or leave a community they may love," said Rell. "The law is crafted in a way that will allow companies to rightfully protect trade secrets and proprietary information but also give workers in these areas an opportunity to move ahead with their professional lives."

 "AFTRA members thank Governor Rell, the state legislature, and Attorney General Blumenthal for enacting this law that prohibits fundamentally unfair provisions in contracts for Connecticut broadcasters," said Local Broadcast Director Tom Higgins.

But Rell also signed a bill this week that she hopes has a serious affect on cable. The law makes it easier for competitors to cable to to establish franchises in the state. Calling it an injection of healthy competitions, Rell said that "Year after year, Connecticut residents have seen their monthly cable rates steadily climbing higher and higher.  It is long past time we do something about that."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.