Should You Sign a Non-Compete Agreement? | Mann & Elias
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Should You Sign a Non-Compete Agreement?

Discuss Your Agreement with an Employment Attorney in LA

Getting ready to start a new job can feel exciting. During the onboarding process, you will most likely spend a chunk of time reviewing contracts, HR manual and presented with a stack of forms waiting to be signed. Among them, you might receive a non-compete agreement. Non-compete agreements, also known as a covenant to not compete, are a contract that prevents you from working for a competitor or starting a business that competes with your employer if you leave. New hires sometimes inquire what this agreement means and when it takes into effect. Read on to learn more about what these agreements are, how they work, and whether it is in your best interest to sign one.

Non-Compete Agreements in California

Non-compete agreements are contracts between an employee and an employer. In the contract, you agree to never compete with your employer after you leave the company. It is enforceable whether you were terminated, laid off, or left the company on an at-will basis.

According to the California Business and Professions Code Section 16600: “Every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void.” That means non-compete agreements are not enforceable by an employer. If you get presented with the contract, you have the right to sign if you are okay with it. However, if your employer is pressuring you or you fear retaliation for not obliging to all terms and conditions, you have legal grounds to sue. A Los Angeles workplace lawyer might advise you to seek legal advice before making a long-term commitment.

Contracts are legally binding when both parties are benefitting. By getting you to sign, the employer is forcing you to give up the opportunity to work for a similar company in the same industry. It saves them time and money. But what does that leave for you? Over the years, courts have found that getting hired is an award in itself that makes the contract work out so well.

The Legitimacy of Non-Compete Agreements

Many companies like to bend the rules when it comes to employment, and unfortunately, not too many people are aware of what a non-compete agreement is. This contract is not legal in every state, especially California. The contract is unenforceable, and it is illegal for employers to ask you to sign one. If you were presented with an agreement, consult with a non-compete agreement lawyer in LA because your employer might be trying to deceive you. In California, it is considered unfair competition.

Other states across the country allow these agreements. However, they are only enforceable if the conditions are reasonable. When the terms are so restrictive that you cannot make a living, the court will not allow it. You might even be able to sue the company for damages (if applicable outside of CA), depending on how an attorney for non-compete agreement violations reviews your case. The court assesses several factors before enforcing a non-compete, such as:

  • What counts as competition? Overall, the contract is prohibiting workers from seeking employment from competing companies. It is likely to get approved because it does not mean that he/she cannot work for other businesses within the industry.
  • What geographical area does the contract cover? The agreement is likely to get approved if it is limited to opposing companies in the vicinity. If the geographical area was statewide or nationwide, it would propose more of a disadvantage to an employee.
  • When Does the Contract End? The contract does not last more than two years when signed. The court is less likely to approve if it lasts for upwards of 10 years.
  • What does the employee know? As an employee, you are not expected to understand how the entire business operates (manufacturing processes, pricing, etc.). Upon hire, chances are you will know extraordinarily few trading secrets during your first or second year. The employees who work at an entry-level or outside the C-Suite pose little risk to the business. The court understands this. A company might benefit more from requesting a non-compete agreement from a few employees with full access to sensitive information instead of all employees. You may need a lawyer to review a non-compete agreement in Los Angeles before getting started.

Is It Worth Signing A Non-Compete?

In California, you should avoid signing a non-compete agreement. Unless you work in a state that enforces them, your employer cannot require you to sign one as a condition of employment. If you want the job, you can negate signing one through an employment attorney in LA. Your legal counsel can facilitate all communication if you are unsure of the process or hope to negotiate a less arduous agreement.

Reach Out to A Trusted Non-Compete Agreement Attorney

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases, an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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