Corporate behemoth Amazon has been throwing its weight around in the state of Washington. On Tuesday, a bill passed the Washington Senate, intended to partially prohibit non‑compete clauses. Such clauses are common in the tech world and other employment areas, and they stop employees from working for competitors or starting competitive businesses for an agreed‑upon amount of time. Under the Washington bill, employees who make at least $100,000 annually are exempt. That means only those who make less than $100,000 per year will have the benefit of protection from non‑compete clauses, should the bill become law in its current form.
Originally, the exemption threshold was set at $180,000. The median salary for an Amazon employee in Seattle – the location of Amazon’s headquarters – is $113,000. So, the reduction to the exemption threshold is a demonstrable success for Amazon’s bottom line. It also shows that the company’s increase in lobbying efforts over the past few years has paid dividends – Amazon spent $114,000 on lobbying in 2014, but spent $358,000 in 2016, $679,000 in 2017, and $333,000 in 2018. There’s no reason to believe Amazon’s lobbying practices will slow down in the future.
For now, Amazon’s efforts do not impact workers in Michigan. But that could change, should the company begin more lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. or in Michigan. While nothing is in the pipe at this time, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for changes. At Lusk Albertson, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out as well, and we’ll note any big news on this front.