The US Federal Trade Commission has ordered glass manufacturing company Anchor Glass to drop noncompete restrictions that it imposed on its workers.

In a complaint filed against Anchor Glass and its owners, Lynx Finance, the FTC said Anchor illegally imposed noncompete restrictions on more than 300 workers.

This was across a variety of positions, including salaried employees who work with the plants’ furnaces and forming equipment and in other glass production, engineering, and quality assurance positions.

Anchor manufactures and sells glass containers used for food and beverage packaging.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the company imposed restrictions on employees that barred them for one year from working with another employer in the United States to provide 'rigid packaging sales and services which are the same or substantially similar to those in which Anchor deals,' and from selling products or services to 'any customers or prospective customers of Anchor with whom the worker had any interaction.'

The FTC said noncompete restrictions harm both workers and competing businesses.

For workers, noncompete restrictions lead to lower wages and salaries, reduced benefits, and less favourable working conditions.

For businesses, these restrictions also block competitors from entering and expanding their businesses.

In its complaint, the FTC said the restrictions Anchor imposed constituted an unfair method of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

The agency’s order bans Anchor from entering into, maintaining, enforcing or attempting to enforce, or threatening to enforce noncompete restrictions on relevant workers.

Among other things, the company also is banned from telling a relevant employee or other employers that the employee is subject to a noncompete.

Anchor must, for the next 10 years, provide a clear and conspicuous notice to any new relevant employees that they may freely seek or accept a job with any company or person, run their own business, or compete with Anchor at any time following their employment.

The case against Anchor comes shortly after the FTC ordered O-I and Ardagh Glass container manufacturers to drop noncompete restrictions that they imposed on thousands of workers.