What Does California Law Say About Noncompete Agreements?

At Romero Law, our experienced Pasadena employment law attorneys know that non-compete agreements are not enforceable in California. According to California law, “every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”

However, that does not mean employers are not wrongfully presenting workers with noncompete agreements as part of their employment contracts. In some cases, the employer may cite extenuating circumstances for their inclusion in these agreements, but that does not make the contract enforceable.

Unfortunately, California employers must still be reminded this is true.

California Attorney General Reminds Both Employers and Workers Noncompete Agreements are Not Enforceable in The Golden State

Recently, the State of California Department of Justice, and Attorney General, Rob Bonta, reminded both employers and employees throughout the state:

“Despite being prohibited in California, noncompete provisions are routinely included in employee contracts, including contracts for lower-wage workers. This can have a tremendous effect of deterring workers from pursuing new, and oftentimes better job opportunities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As our economy recovers, it is more important than ever for employers and workers in our state to have a system that protects competition in the labor market. Today’s alert is a reminder that noncompete agreements have no place in California.”

If you believe your employer is wrongfully holding you to noncompete provisions in your employment agreement, we want to discuss your challenges as soon as possible, so you can move forward with a new position and organization with confidence.

Do I Have to Conform to a Noncompete Agreement if My Employer is Not Based in California?

As of January 1, 2017, all California employees can void contracts with illegal non-compete terms.

This includes noncompete agreements that require a court outside of California to decide disputes. This means a company cannot enforce a California employee’s noncompete agreement in a state that allows these agreements.

Only California courts can rule on noncompete issues within the state, and the courts can only do so using California law.

Where Do Noncompete Agreements Stand in Other States?

The legality of non-compete agreements varies by state. However, a sweeping proposal by the Federal Trade Commission would block companies from limiting their employees’ ability to work for a rival. An FTC official stated, “These agreements block millions of retail workers, construction workers, and other working folks from taking a better job, getting better pay and benefits, in the same field.”

As the U.S. moves to bar noncompete agreements in labor contracts, California is far ahead of the curve, which means your rights are protected. If your California employer is attempting to enforce a non-compete agreement, so you are unable to move forward with another organization, contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment law attorneys to discuss your legal rights and options today.

Our employment law firm and bilingual staff offer services in both English and Spanish and are available now to discuss your case during a free consultation by calling 626-396-9900 or contacting us online.

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