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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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I am 63 years old. I live in CA and have + years. I have

Customer Question

I am 63 years old.
I live in CA and have for 20+ years.
I have been working for a MN company (the second time) for 4 years now.
Last week the company presented me with a Non-compete agreement.
it is multiple pages - very legal - and very restrictive.
it was written in MN by MN attorneys.
...if I don't sign it - i don't have a job.
is this legal in CA?
Don ******
Redlands, CA
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Yes, it is legal to condition further employment on the signing of a non-compete. The good news is that California courts do not enforce non-compete agreements except in certain very limited and inapplicable situations. So, if your employer tried to sue you in CA court to enforce their non-compete, you would be able to get that lawsuit immediately thrown out.

Now, there is one caveat. Although CA courts won't enforce non-competes, MN courts will. So, if your employer attempts to sue you in MN and gets a judgment there, something called the "rule of comity" would generally require a CA court to honor that judgment and enter it in CA court so that it could be collected upon you here. The way to defeat this is to seek what's called a "declaratory judgment" from a CA court first. This is essentially a preemptive judgment in which you get the court to declare that the agreement is unenforceable. If you get that before your employer sues you in MN, you can stop the MN lawsuit from proceeding.

Now, all of this isn't exactly what you asked about, but it's relevant to your question. Your employer can force you to sign the agreement as a condition of further employment. But even if you sign, there are avenues to prevent it from ever being enforced against you. Those avenues would cost money for you to pursue, but they exist nonetheless. Also, it bears mention that very often employers either never find out about a breach of a non-compete or if they do find out decide not to sue because it would take too much time and money to do so.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Please respond to me here rather than opening new question threads. You asked in your other question thread:

""How do I calculate the amount for my severance packet, including life & disability insurance, including time of pay weeks"

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "calculate the amount." Usually severance is negotiated as a lump sum payment, often with "weeks of pay" being the metric by which amounts are discussed. Any additional benefits that the employer might provide as part of the severance agreement are not really factored into the "amount" of severance, and there is no real purpose to calculating this total "amount" because it doesn't matter.

See above for what I described as the typical range of severance amounts for someone in your circumstance. If I can clarify anything else just let me know.

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