Philadelphia; April 25, 2024: Today, ATS Tree Services, LLC filed suit against the Federal Trade Commission to block its national ban on non-compete agreements. 

“Congress never gave the FTC power to rewrite the employment contracts of millions of Americans,” said Josh Robbins, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “The FTC is attempting to invent new powers for itself that stray far from the agency’s original antitrust mission.” 

Forty-six states allow reasonable non-compete agreements. The FTC’s proposed ban overwrites these state laws and imposes a one-size-fits-all approach on the entire country.  

ATS offers a comprehensive suite of tree care services to customers within about a 20-mile radius of its headquarters in Perkasie, Pennsylvania — between Allentown and Philadelphia. ATS has universally glowing reviews from its customers, which the company attributes to its investment in specialized training for its employees and dedication to their skills growth and professional development within ATS. 

ATS asks its employees to sign a non-compete agreement and not work for a direct competitor for one year after leaving ATS. In exchange, the company provides employees with specialized tree care training that they can use for the rest of their lives. The ban permanently alters the successful model of mutual commitment between ATS and its employees that has led ATS to become a highly respected tree care service in its region. If ATS is not allowed to use its reasonable non-compete agreement, it faces the prospect of its employees leaving for direct competitors with the benefit of ATS’s investment.  

The case is ATS Tree Services LLC v. Federal Trade Commission, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 


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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 18 wins of 20 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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