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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34884
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I sogned an employment contract with a placement service that

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I sogned an employment contract with a placement service that specializes in contract placement of technical staff. I signed with this company over a year ago with a very large company. Last month, I was notified that the company was going to end it's relationship with this contracting company and that I would be let go. I had signed a document stating that I would not work for another contracting company for the same employer for one year after my contract ended. I was layed off, effective last Thursday and received a call from the new contracting company that the employer had hired to place contract technical staff. They immediately offered me a contract for another position with the same employer. The problem is that my old company wants to prevent me from working for the company that replaced them since I had a contractual agreement with them not to work for the same employer for another agency. They either want money from the new contracting company or theywant me to remain unemployed. I understand that they are angry for being terminated by the employer, but I think it's totally unfair to put me in the middle. Do they have the right to attempt to hold me to a contract after they have terminated my contract and job? I haven't told them yet that I have a new job, but they are calling constantly trying to find out if the contracting company has placed me in a new position. What are my legal rights in this situation?

Good morning Sharon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Quite simply, under CA law, non-compete agreements are illegal. Here is the law:

CA Business and Professions Code §16600. 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.

Any agreement you signed with your staffing company employer, agreeing not to work for a company which they placed you with, it not enforceable against you under CA law. Any agreement they had with the other company is not your problem---but that of the other company. But as against you, any non-compete agreement you signed with the first staffing company employer is illegal and not enforceable against you.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I didn't realize I had submitted my question for California. I live in Arkansas, would this answer still apply?

Good afternoon Sharon,

No, the law in CA it does not apply to Arkansas. CA is the most employee friendly state in the US. Few states come anywhere close to giving employees the multitude of rights that CA does.

Like most other states, Arkansas law recognizes an employer's right to protect legitimate interests of their business, but the law also considers the need for an employee to earn a living. While the restrictions in a non-compete agreement may be enforced in certain circumstances, they must be found to be both reasonable in their duration, and in their geographic scope.

While a 5 year nationwide ban on competing would not be enforceable, a 1 year limitation within a number of surrounding counties in your area may well be enforceable.

If you Arkansas agreement holds that you simply may not work for companies who you previously were hired out to by your staffing agency for a period of 1 year after your contract ended---then the court will likely find that agreement reasonable and enforceable.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,


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