WA – Non-Compete Agreements

Washington’s non-compete agreement law, RCW 49.62, governs when a non-compete agreement is considered valid or enforceable under state law.

A non-compete agreement is a legal agreement or a clause in a contract between an employer and an employee that, after the employment ends, prohibits the employee from working for or starting a business that competes with their former employer.

Earnings thresholds

In Washington, only employees or independent contractors who earn more than the established thresholds can be held to non-compete agreements. If the worker does not meet the minimum earnings threshold, the non-compete agreement is considered void and unenforceable.

The law requires L&I to adjust these thresholds for inflation each year. The 2022 earning thresholds will be:

  • $107,301.04 for employees
  • $268,252.59 for independent contractors

Other restrictions under this law

In addition to the earnings thresholds requirements, this law also prohibits:

  • A provision in a non-compete agreement signed by a Washington-based employee or independent contractor requiring the worker to resolve the agreement outside of Washington, if such a provision denies the worker protections established by the law. See RCW 49.62.050.
  • Employers not permitting employees earning less than twice the state minimum wage from having additional employment; this restriction is subject to some limitations. See RCW 49.62.070.