HomeEmploymentCalifornia Strengthens Non-Competitors Regulation

California Strengthens Non-Competitors Regulation

California has handed two new objects of laws, Senate Invoice 699 and Meeting Invoice 1076, which is able to additional regulate and limit the enforcement of employment non-compete agreements in California, and develop the scope of treatments for these affected by them. These new legal guidelines will turn out to be efficient on January 1, 2024, and now’s the time for employers to evaluate and revise their employment-related agreements and restrictive covenants accordingly. As detailed beneath, in addition they require employers to inform workers and sure former workers by February 15, 2024 that sure non-compete provisions are void. The 2 new legal guidelines are detailed beneath.

SB 699

It has lengthy been a elementary tenet of California legislation that “each contract by which anybody is restrained from participating in a lawful occupation, commerce, or enterprise of any form is to that extent void.”[1] Accordingly, California Courts have typically voided any non-competition and non-solicitation agreements besides in slim circumstances, reminiscent of in reference to the sale of a enterprise or in a business-to-business context topic to the rule of motive.

SB 699 expands this prohibition to not solely non-competes entered into in California, but additionally out-of-state non-competes. 

Codified as Part 16600.5, SB 699 will make it illegal to implement an settlement that’s void below Part 16600 “no matter whether or not the contract was signed and the employment was maintained outdoors of California.”[2] Successfully, it permits an individual topic to a sound non-compete settlement from one other state to hunt employment in California and invoke Part 16600.5 to stop the enforcement of the out-of-state non-compete inside California.

Part 16600.5 additionally clarifies that any employer who enters into contracts with an worker or potential worker in violation of Part 16600 could have dedicated a “civil violation.” In that state of affairs, the affected worker or potential worker might carry a non-public motion to implement Part 16600.5, and search injunctive aid, precise damages, and legal professional’s charges.

AB 1076

AB 1076 requires employers to affirmatively notify all present workers and former workers (these employed after January 1, 2022) who signed a void non-compete, that the clause or settlement is void. Employers should present this discover by no later than February 14, 2024. The communications have to be despatched to each the final identified deal with and electronic mail deal with of every particular person worker.

The invoice additionally amends Part 16600 by codifying current caselaw present in Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP.[3] In Edwards, a tax supervisor introduced go well with in opposition to his former employer, Arthur Andersen LLP (“Andersen”), over an eighteen month non-compete. Andersen argued that the courtroom ought to undertake a narrow-restraint exception to Part 16600. In the end, the California Supreme Court docket held {that a} non-compete settlement, irrespective of how narrowly tailor-made, is void if it doesn’t meet a statutory exception. The Edwards holding is now codified as a further subsection of Part 16600. As well as, Part 16600.1 makes it not solely void but additionally illegal to impose employment-related non-compete provisions or contracts that don’t fall inside a statutory exception, and an act of unfair competitors.[4]

The total impact of each AB 699 and AB 1076 stays to be seen. Necessary questions stay reminiscent of whether or not these new legal guidelines apply to in-term (throughout employment) restrictive covenants per an worker’s responsibility of loyalty, how these provisions interaction with Labor Code part 925(e), which in any other case permits a represented worker to enter into agreements below the legislation of one other state, whether or not they apply to contracts signed earlier than the efficient date, how they may play out in federal v. state courtroom, whether or not and the way courts in different states reminiscent of Delaware will implement the brand new legislation, whether or not they may maintain as much as constitutional challenges, whether or not the protections of the brand new legislation will apply to particular person contractors and consultants, and whether or not employers with workers all through the U.S. should give the discover to all workers, not simply these in California.

No matter these unanswered questions, employers are nicely suggested to evaluate these legal guidelines with counsel now and take acceptable steps to advertise compliance.


[1] California Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600 (all Enterprise and Occupation Code Sections might be referred to herein as “Part”). https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=BPC&sectionNum=16600.

[2] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240SB699

[3] Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP (2008) 44 Cal.4th 937.

[4] https://legiscan.com/CA/textual content/AB1076/id/2845900



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