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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Background: Work for BAC Field Services. Recently they sold

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Background: Work for BAC Field Services. Recently they sold us to company Safe Guard. We were all told that we are part of the contract meaning we were ineligible to apply for other positions inside the bank not included in the sale. We are being guaranteed employement with the new firm however they are offering very little details regarding benifit package, etc.
We were told that we will NOT be eligible for a BAC severance or unemployment benefits if we did not accept the position with Safe Guard.
Further, we are being pressured to sign an employment agreement with Safe Guard prior to benefit disclosure as well as being required to sign a non-competition agreement that states….
“3. Competition with Company after Employment. I agree that for a period of two (2) years after the termination, for any reason and however caused, of my employment with the Company, I will not, directly or indirectly, own, manage, control, or participate in the ownership, management or control of, or be employed or engaged by or otherwise affiliated or associated as a consultant, independent contractor or otherwise with any other corporation, partnership, limited liability company, proprietorship, firm, association, or other business entity, or otherwise engage in a business, which is engaged in any manner in, or otherwise competes with, the business of the Company in the field services industry (hazard & FHA claims, valuations, title services, inspections and property preservation) as being conducted at the time of this agreement.”
… Escrow of the sell will close Sept 28th.

Question: I would like to sign the employment agreement.. but obviously would like to maintain my rights to look for other employment certainly if their the final employment package is less then I’m receiving now and I can find another employment opportunity within the industry.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.

California is a state that strongly disfavors the enforcement of non-compete agreements. Such agreements are automatically void as a matter of law in California, except for a small set of specific situations expressly authorized by statute. Specifically, Business and Professions Code section 16600 states: "Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void."

The exceptions are a bit complex but include the following: (1) If an owner is selling the goodwill in their business (goodwill is the reputation and name of the business); (2) When there is a dissolution or disassociation of a partnership or (3) Where there is a dissolution of a limited liability company. There is also a limited exception for "trade secrets."

The circumstance you describe does not appear to implicate any of the exceptions to section 16600, and accordingly, an agreement pursuant to the terms you have described would not typically be enforceable. It doesn't matter if the employee signs it, a court will simply refuse to enforce it, as it would be completely void.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
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