Free Enterprise Utah supports freedom of contract

A group of Utah business leaders has formed a new coalition, Free Enterprise Utah, to stand-up for the freedom of businesses and employees to define their relationship without government interference.

Free Enterprise Utah is taking action to prevent any adverse changes to non-compete law in the 2017 legislative session and creating a final resolution of non-compete issues in the state.

“Utah’s policies have enabled private businesses to create jobs twice as fast as the rest of the nation. As a result, Utahns enjoy a 3.1 percent unemployment rate and an economy that leads this country in business and careers,” said Spencer Eccles, managing partner at The Cynosure Group and a member of Free Enterprise Utah. “Hampering businesses’ and employees’ ability to contract with one another is unnecessary and puts both the job creation power of private enterprise and Utah’s reputation as the best state for business and careers at risk.”

Non-compete agreements create the environment necessary for businesses and employees to jointly pursue shared interests in today’s economy.

“As business leaders, we believe strongly in investing in our employees because their success is our success,” said Scott Beck, CEO of CHG Healthcare Services and a member of Free Enterprise Utah. “Non-competes provide protection to employees and employers. That protection provides an environment for investment and training for employees that is beneficial to all.”

Much of Utah’s economic success can be traced to a willingness for government to work with the private sector to avoid creating unnecessary, burdensome regulation.

“We know the regulatory environment is a job killer. We see it at the federal level and we complain about it all the time at the federal level,” said Bruce Hough, president of Nutraceutical. “Our interest is in having an enterprise with our employees that promotes growth and prosperity for everyone. We believe that can be done under the current law and it doesn’t require further legislation.”

“Free Enterprise Utah is here to stand up against government overreach,” said Matthew Browning, chief operating officer of Snap Finance, a founding member of Free Enterprise Utah. “Let me be clear, this is not about a political fight; this is about something much more important. This is about standing up for a fundamental right for employees and businesses to define their relationship without the overreaching hand of government.”

Free Enterprise has outlined five principles by which all non-compete policy should be evaluated:

  1. Champion Free Enterprise. Government intrusion disrupts and impairs Utah’s system for economic growth and job creation. Employers and employees both benefit by freely engaging in contracts without excessive government intrusion.  
  2. Sustain Utah’s National Reputation. Free Enterprise Utah supports policies that protect Utah’s national reputation as the best state for business and careers, which attracts business, capital and talent to the Beehive State.
  3. Empower Entrepreneurs. Free Enterprise Utah supports policies to protect entrepreneurs from unfair practices and unnecessary interference in the free market.
  4. Support and Invest in People. Policies encouraging employers to invest in talent through training and education are beneficial to both the employee and business. Employment contracts protect businesses and the people they employ.
  5. Embrace Transparency. More than half a century of Utah case law requires that employment contracts be negotiated in good faith, supported by consideration, tailored to protect legitimate interests of the employer and include reasonable time and market limitations.  

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