USD School of Law Professor Orly Lobel Research Impacts White House Call to Action

Professor Orly Lobel Research Impacts White House Call to Action

In August of 2016, University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Orly Lobel was invited to the White House to present her research on non-compete restrictions. Since then, Lobel has served as a member of a White House working group to put together the call to action announced October 25 by the Obama Administration to push back against the over-expansion of non-competes and others practices, including collusive agreements to not poach employees and anti-competitive wage fixing.

The call to action was based in part on Lobel's research and book, Talent Wants to Be Free (Yale University Press), which argues that the spread of post-employment restrictions in the labor market not only hurts workers but also innovation and economic growth more broadly. 

"My research has shown that non-competes decrease employee motivation and performance, reduce talent mobility and knowledge flow in creative industries and have an overall harmful effect on entrepreneurship and regional development," says Professor Lobel. "I am very pleased that the White House is urging states to enact reforms to reduce the prevalence of non-compete agreements that are hurting workers and regional economies. In addition, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission announced that going forward DOJ will criminally investigate allegations that employers have agreed amongst themselves on employee compensation or not to solicit or hire one another's employees. This is an important warning to companies that have anti-competitive gentlemen's agreements to no recruit each other's talent."

In the press release, the White House States the call for action will enhance competitions to benefit consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs. Beyond the recommendation of banning non-competes' for most workers, the White House call for action urges states to improve transparency and fairness of non-compete agreements by, for example, disallowing non-competes unless they are proposed before a job offer or significant promotion has been accepted and provide consideration over and above continued employment. 

Read the press release online.


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The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.