Articles

07Apr

Insights Association Calls for Suspension of Non-Compete Agreements Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Layoffs are rising amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and so is the urgency to suspend an instrument impeding workers from securing new opportunities to earn a living: non-compete agreements. 

The Insights Association today called upon its members and all organizations operating in the market research and data analytics space during this time of economic tumult to forgo enforcement of noncompete agreements for staff involuntarily separated from their organizations without full compensation.

This practice in no way would preclude an employer from maintaining all rights, including legal action, against an employee who misappropriates trade secrets or other confidential or proprietary information. IA supports the use of non-solicit and non-disclosure agreements as employers must maintain the ability to service its existing client base and ensure protection of intellectual and confidential information.

“Traditional business practices often are overlooked and remain in place for too long. We believe this to be the case with non-compete agreements,” observed Melanie Courtright, CEO of the Insights Association. “Respect for our industry will rise and fall based on how we treat employees at a time like this. We believe that our reputation and our future viability stands to suffer if, as an industry, we unduly prevent anyone from pursuing their livelihood and providing for their family.”

The Insights Association called upon employers throughout the marketing research and data analytics industry to reconsider the utilization and enforcement of existing uncompensated non-competes due to involuntary terminations of employment. Instead, organizations should devote time and resources on keeping employees satisfied and motivated to fulfill their potential within this growing industry.

“I believe that this pandemic’s extraordinary circumstances call for the industry to revisit its non-compete practices while still adhering to certain elements that we should all support,” said Gary S. Laben, CEO of Dynata. “Specifically, individuals who are involuntarily terminated as a result of the current situation should be granted the opportunity to work within the insights industry as long as they – and their potential new employers – adhere to any non-disclosure or non-solicit provisions that protect company confidential information or intellectual property.  It’s simply the right thing to do.”

“Lucid has a strong record of supporting former or leaving employees in finding new jobs in our industry,” commented Patrick B. Comer, founder & CEO of Lucid. “It's always been our philosophy and continues to be, that we want to build bridges to the future with our employees and the best way to do that is to support them in their next roles. For these reasons, we applaud and support the Insights Association's leadership on this issue, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”   

As Courtright noted, “There is far more to gain right now by being empathetic and compassionate. We stand to be more successful in the long run by devoting energy toward becoming world-class companies and ensuring that insights professionals are working, not on the sidelines or in court.”

About the Author

Howard Fienberg

Howard Fienberg

Based in Washington, DC, Howard is the Insights Association's lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). Howard has more than two decades of public policy experience. Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also served more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers. Howard is also co-director of The Census Project, a 900+ member coalition in support of a fair and accurate Census and ACS. He has also served previously on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and and the Association of Government Relations Professionals. Howard has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Honors Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC). When not running advocacy for the Insights Association, Howard enjoys hockey, NFL football, sci-fi and horror movies, playing with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.

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