Did you sign a non-compete agreement when you left your former employer in California? Even if you did, your former employer could not enforce it under state law, even if company officials repeatedly say they can.
Do you have a non-compete agreement in your employment contract?
Many California employers are sneaky, burying non-compete agreements in the fine print of contracts or even adding them to the terms of employment after a worker has accepted a job. Employers do this, hoping that the language will go unnoticed or the worker will feel backed into a corner and simply accept the language. However, such business litigation language is illegal under state law. However, the California attorney general reminded workers in early 2022 that these agreements, while illegal, often prevent workers from seeking new and better jobs in the state.
Although these clauses generally appear in the contracts of high-wage employees, lower-wage workers may still encounter them. Many workers mistakenly believe their only option is to continue working in a job with an untenable situation. Noncompete and anticompetitive provisions can harm workers in various ways.
What if I find a non-compete clause in my employment contract?
If your employer has wrongly presented you with a non-compete agreement, or if you discover one after reading over that document, you should report it immediately to the California attorney general’s office. The best way to prevent the inclusion of such clauses in your employment contract is to have someone else look it over before you sign it.
Employers who go after former workers who have signed on with competing companies are performing illegal actions. California laws protect workers from such situations. If your former employer comes after you for working for a competitor, consider reporting the incident to the attorney general’s office.