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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Labor laws. I am working for a Healthcare Registry Co. part

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Labor laws. I am working for a Healthcare Registry Co. part time no benefits. In the last month or so work has not been consistent. I have been looking around for work and found a possible position in a skilled nursing facility that I have never worked at via my registry. However, I have worked for the company staffing the facility at another location (total of 16 hours 2 months ago) They did not approach me, I called in response to a classified. Do I have any legal obligation to the registry company if I take this job? If they have been slow and I am only getting occassional work do I have any alligance to them legally ? What if a job is available at a location I have worked at ?

Medicare is cutting, cutting and registry may be less and less desirable. I want to work!!

Under Ca Bus & Prof. Code 16600, all employee noncompetition clauses are void as against public policy. Some relevant exceptions exist. For your purposes, the most relevant are:

1. An employee who agrees to a noncompete clause while working outside of California, and who then relocates to California can be subject to the previously agreed-to noncompete;

2. An employee who works for two employers simultaneously, can be held liable under a noncompete clause, because employees owe their employer a duty of undivided loyalty. Thus, the only way to avoid this result is to only work for one employer at a time -- or only work for a second employer that does not compete with the current employer.

3. An employee who has a written employment contract containing a specified termination date, at least one month after the date that the employment contract commences, creates a risk for the new employer to be sued for "wrongful interference with contract", if the new employer's job offer causes the employee to quit the current employer before the existing contract terminates. Labor Code 2922. Although there is no direct effect on the employee, the existence of the specified term of the employment contract may cause a new employer to refuse to hire until the existing contract termination date passes.

Thus, the short answer here is that, (1) if your existing employment contract has no specified termination date, and (2) you quit your existing job before commencing work for the new employer, and (3) all of your employment has been in California, then you are free to change jobs, and the existing employer's noncompete clause is unenforceable against you under California law.

Hope his helps.

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