When is a Non-Compete Unenforceable?
Before your company drafts a non-compete, or before you sign one, you should consult with a non-compete dispute attorney. Irvine attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with assistance understanding California laws on non-compete agreements so you can make informed choices when it comes to this type of contract.
Non-competes can provide important protection for a company and can prevent a business from losing clients or trade secrets when a valuable employee who was privy to private information leaves the company. However, non-competes can also unlawfully restrain workers from earning a living.
California courts are very strict on when non-competes will actually be enforceable. This is why it is so important to consult with a non-compete dispute attorney. Irvine attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP advise both companies and employees on issues related to non-competition clauses.
When is a Non-Compete Unenforceable
California law makes clear that there are very limited situations in which a non-compete agreement is permitted or will be enforced. California Business and Professional Codes section 16600 explains that: “Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.”
With this language, California establishes one of the strictest laws in the entire country. The statute essentially says that unless the situation falls into a narrow exception, a non-compete restricting someone from working in his profession is going to be void and unenforceable.
Before 2008, there was some variation in how strictly the courts in California interpreted the broad ban on non-competes. After a 2008 case called Edwards v. Arthur Anderson, things changed going forward due to the decision in the case.
The court in Edwards v. Arthur Anderson took a very worker-friendly position and essentially ended the ability of courts in California to interpret the Business Code rule in a way that was more favorable to employers. In this case, the court held that section 16600 clearly and unequivocally limits restraints on trade, like the restraints imposed by a non-compete.
This dos not mean that there are absolutely no situations where companies can protect secrets. Companies are still able to prevent employees from sharing trade secrets. Companies with headquarters outside of the state of California who incorporate forum selection and choice-of-law provisions in contracts have also had some limited success in creating enforceable non-competes.
Because of the strict rules on non-competes in California, any company that wants to make sure its private data does not fall into a competitor’s hands when an employee departs is going to need to work with an experienced attorney to try to find ways to protect proprietary information that the court actually will enforce.
Talk With A Non-Compete Dispute Attorney. Irvine Attorneys Can Help With An Agreement
It is important for companies to get advice from a non-compete dispute attorney. Irvine attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance during the negotiation and drafting of a contract limiting the rights of an employee after leaving a position. Our legal team helps businesses to make smart choices about how a non-compete is drafted so they can maximize the chances the contract will be viewed as enforceable and provide the protections that they expect.
Employees should also get advice before signing a non-compete, or when leaving their job. An experienced attorney can help to ensure that an employee does not sign or comply with an agreement that is so broad as to be an unenforceable restraint on the worker’s ability to make a living.
Finally, Brown & Charbonneau, LLP provides assistance to employers and employees in situations where a non-compete is allegedly being violated. We can advise you of your rights, or your company’s rights, and help you through any litigation that arises due to a potential violation of a non-compete.
As we represent you, we bring our legal knowledge of non-competes to your case to help you make the most compelling possible arguments to the court about why your position on enforcement is the right on.
Getting Help from A Non-Compete Dispute Attorney in Irvine
Do not wait to talk with a non-compete dispute attorney. Irvine attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide guidance on enforceability of non-competes at the time of drafting to reduce the potential for conflict later. We also provide representation when a dispute has arisen.
Give us a call at (866)237-8129 or contact us online to find out more about the ways in which our legal team helps protect your company’s right to proprietary information or your right to make a living after leaving your job.