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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39177
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I worked for 3 years for a government contractor based in Las

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I worked for 3 years for a government contractor based in Las Vegas, but live in CA. I signed a non-compete/non-disclosure agreement to get the job. They terminated me when their contract was up for the particular work I was doing. Is there any chance the agreement is uniforceable? The non-disclosure states any ideas, processes, or knowledge cannot be used for a year. I came to them with this knowledge. Is it now theirs for a year, prohibiting me from using what I know?

I'm a little confused by your facts. Please clarify:

Where did you actually do the majority of your work? NV or CA?

Note: I don't care where the employer's principal place of busines is located. What matters is where your principal worksite was located.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I live and work in CA over the internet and the company is in NV. The only time I was in NV was for annual meetings held at casinos.


After 3 years of working with the government contractor, they called on Sept 8th and let me know my services were no longer needed because the contract was over and they did not want to keep part time staff. I started out as the person who taught their people what and how to do their jobs, transitioned to a lower position (with a 40% pay reduction), then after 10 months, was let go.


It seems wrong that my unique and valuable skills would be held captive to the company that no longer wants my services. Is this legal? Is it ethical? Is there anything I can do?

Since you worked in California, your employment contract is subject to California law -- which absolutely prohibits noncompete clauses (legally termed "restrictive covenants') in employment contracts. Bus. & Prof. Code 16600. Thus, the former employer cannot prevent you from competing or using your general knowledge gained in employment or elsewhere as an asset with a new employer.

However, the employer can enforce a confidentiality agreement. So, if you have specific knowledge of the employer's products or services, designs, manufacturing processes, customer lists, source code, algorithms, etc., then you cannot disclose those things to a new employer, or use them in your work, or you are subject to liability for the disclosures.

Hope this helps.

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