Many states, other than California, allow businesses to require their employees to sign agreements that prohibit the employees from working for a competing company following their employment. By contrast, California generally prohibits such “non-compete” agreements, finding them to violate this state’s public policy favoring freedom of competition and an employee’s right to move between jobs. The only exceptions to California's prohibition against non-compete agreements arise in the context of the sale of businesses or the dissolution of partnerships.
Because non-compete agreements are generally illegal in California, an employer may not force an employee to sign an agreement that contains a non-compete provision. Making the signing of an unlawful agreement a condition of employment could give rise to a claim for wrongful termination. Similarly, attempting to enforce a covenant not to compete against a former employee or subsequent employer may lead to suits for unfair competition.
The Hayes Employment Law Practice has broad experience both prosecuting and defending lawsuits concerning non-compete agreements. If you are an employee or business in need of help with a non-compete agreement dispute, please contact our office today at (626) 808-HELP (4357) for a free, no obligation case evaluation.