If you are a California employee, you may wonder if you must sign a non-compete agreement when starting a new job. The decision to sign a non-compete agreement lies largely with the company and the individual signing. Our team at Polaris Law Group dive into the details of non-compete agreements in California and how they could affect employees.
What Is a Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is an agreement between an employee and an employer that restricts the employee from working with competitors or other businesses during and after their employment ends. These agreements protect trade secrets, sensitive information, customer relationships, or even just regular business practices such as sales strategies. As long as the non-compete agreement does not prevent an employee from earning a living, it is usually enforceable in California courts.
Are Non-Competes Enforceable in California?
Employees are not required to sign non-compete agreements. The enforceability of non-competes depends on several factors, including the length of time covered by the agreement, the geographic reach of the agreement, whether it covers only certain job functions or industries, etc. Generally speaking, it is difficult for employers to successfully enforce overly broad or restrictive agreements since these can be considered too unfair for employees who want to work elsewhere after their employment ends.
However, employers can create reasonable restrictions that protect their interests without putting undue burden on employees who wish to pursue opportunities outside of their current role.
How Can Employees Protect Themselves Before Signing?
California employees must understand what they’re signing when agreeing to any kind of contractual obligation with an employer. It’s vital to review any proposed restrictions carefully before agreeing to them, including limitations on future job roles and geographic locations where an employee may work.
Employers should also provide sufficient time for employees to review any proposed agreements before they sign to ensure they understand all aspects of what they agree upon. Employees should consult legal counsel before signing legally binding documents such as non-competes or other contracts.
Seeking Legal Guidance
Even if employers require employees to sign non-compete agreements, there are steps that workers can take to understand what they're signing by consulting legal counsel. If your employer has asked you to sign a non-compete agreement, get in touch with our team today at (888) 796-4010 to ensure it’s in your best interest.
Contact us today at (888) 796-4010 to schedule a consultation!