no compete clause in layoff paperwork (california)


Old 08-13-14, 02:58 PM
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Location: corona Ca.
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no compete clause in layoff paperwork (california)

Hoping someone here still browses this forum that is familiar with Labor law. I got layed off from my Job last week of 2 years. I'm located in California. They offered me a 2 week severance check to sign their packet of paperwork. In this paperwork, most concerning to me was a no compete clause. Essentially it said I can't get a job in this field minor or major for a year. I contacted legal and they reduced it to 6 months. I then found out that it looks like no compete clauses in California are illegal, period. I told them to remove it completely and they wouldn't (they're based outta state, but I was a California field tech). Strangely in the last paragraph it states that it's written to the laws of Michigan state.

I want to sign this document because I need the 2 weeks. Pay. I do NOT want to get shut of my industry for 6 months. However, since no complete is illegal in California, can I sign this and be ok? Worthy of mentioning, I've already located another job (though it's contracting, and may not be permanent)...and they didn't ask about any no compete clauses.

Any input

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Old 08-13-14, 03:09 PM
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You really need the advice of an attorney versed in California labor law. Often an attorney will offer a free or low-cost consultation of maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I would check your local area for such.
Old 08-13-14, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Someone at the state level should be able to advise you on CA law. One, you want to determine what the requirements are for laying someone off. Are they obligated to pay the 2 weeks severance or is that just their own incentive to get you to sign off.

Was this a large lay-off or just you or a few?

Old 08-13-14, 06:24 PM
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An attorney or state help is always best. IMO, two week's severance is chump change compared to not being able to ply your trade for 6 months should the other job fall through. I'd do a full court press with proper counseling.
Old 08-13-14, 07:24 PM
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However, since no complete is illegal in California, can I sign this and be ok?
If they are not legal in CA they have no leg to stand on. I suspect the parent company, or their legal dept, is in Michigan and they just copy and pasted the info. If you plan to stay in CA I think you would be fine. Just my opinion though.
Old 08-14-14, 05:02 AM
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It sounds like that clause may not be enforceable but you need to know for sure! Consulting a lawyer would be best but you might also get info from the state's labor board.
Old 08-14-14, 06:00 AM
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The language of the clause, as you relay it, also sounds potentially unenforceable - it's common to restrict someone from working for a competitor but not in the same industry at all.

As the others have said, you're going to need to talk to an attorney to get an answer on which you can actually base this decision.
Old 08-14-14, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
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One of the issues some employers want to sidestep is immediate eligibility for unemployment. CA may differ from my state, but here someone who gets a pink slip can immediately collect unemployment, which ultimately gets paid by the employer through increased rates. If one quits, they may not be eligible or at least may have to wait 6 weeks. I know you have other work lined up, but they don't.

Just another item they may be trying (illegally) to avoid.

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