How can I make sure that a non-compete clause is invalid in our state?

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How can I make sure that a non-compete clause is invalid in our state?

My wife signed a non-compete clause with her employer, an after school kids’ program.

She is leaving the company and we are starting a summer camp. I believe that the non-compete clause and any arbitration clause that comes with it are void in our state. Is that true?

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your wife and you are in luck: California courts consider that it is a fundamental policy of the state that agreements in restraint of competition are void (since the courts will not enforce contracts which violate clear public policy), and have held so in a number of cases, including (one of the more-often cited ones), Edwards v. Arthur Anderson (44 Cal.4th 937). There are a few  limited exceptions to this bar on non-competion agreements, but they involve business owners and partners, not rank-and-file employees, like a teacher in a school (unless she's one of the school's owners).
 


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