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Noncompete agreements in California

Noncompete agreements are among the most hotly debated topics in employment law today. The use of these agreements is already strictly limited under California law, and may soon be prohibited nationwide.

In this blog post, we will take a brief look at the current state of the law.

What is a noncompete agreement?

Simply put, a noncompete agreement is a contract in which a worker agrees to not work for a competitor to their employer for a specified period after leaving employment. These agreements typically come in the form of a clause within an employment contract. In some cases, a worker who violates the agreement can be ordered to pay damages to their former employer.

Employers say the agreements are necessary in order to stay competitive because they prevent employees from simply taking the skills and knowledge they acquired on the job and using it for a competing employer.

Critics say the agreements unfairly limit the freedom of workers to find better paying jobs and better working conditions.

The tide turns against noncompete agreements

Increasingly, it looks like the critics are winning.

California is one of several states that holds the agreements to be generally unenforceable. Several other states strictly limit their use. For instance, in some states courts will enforce noncompete agreements only in cases involving highly paid, highly skilled workers.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new rule that — if it goes into effect — would all but prohibit the agreements nationwide. Still, for the time being, millions of American workers are subject to these agreements.

Employment law attorneys help workers understand how the law can protect them from unfair agreements.

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