President Biden on Friday signed a sweeping executive order that could have profound impacts on employers, including policies that target specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications.
According to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, the executive order directs more than a dozen federal agencies to pursue 72 initiatives, ranging from airline baggage fee refund policies to facilitating prescription drug importation from Canada.
Other directives propose more expansive federal government regulation for the private sector – for example, a proposal to ban or curtail restrictions in employment contracts. These are fairly common agreements between an employer and job applicant in which the individual commits for a period of time to refrain from leaving and competing against the employer, who has often made a significant investment in recruiting and helping facilitate the new employee’s success.
In a statement released Friday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley criticized the order, stating, “The Chamber is a strong advocate for market-based competition, not a government-planned economy. This Executive Order smacks of a ‘government knows best’ approach to managing the economy.”
Updates and explanations of next steps are expected to come from the various federal agencies tasked with carrying out the proposals in the Executive Order.