California has long held a strong public policy against non-compete agreements, with a few narrow exceptions. However, with some employers allegedly continuing to ask California workers to sign such agreements, a new law has been passed to further strengthen the state’s position on non-competes: Senate Bill 699.
Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 699 (SB 699) into law, which voids non-compete agreements for workers in the golden state regardless of where the agreement was signed.
With California reiterating its stance against non-competes with SB 699, both employers and employees are encouraged to stay wary and prepared for these changes. Learn more about the provisions within SB 699, and the forecasted impact on the workforce.
SB 699 Strengthens California’s Stance Against Non-Competes
SB 699 takes effect on January 1, 2024, and makes clear that non-compete agreements will be unenforceable in California even if the document was signed in another state. The law also prohibits employers from requiring that current or prospective employees in California sign non-compete clauses.
Under SB 699, employees can now bring private lawsuits if an employer attempts to enforce a non-compete agreement that violates the new law, which may help workers in cases of potentially abusive non-compete clauses. Moving forward, prevailing plaintiffs will be able to recover damages, attorneys’ fees, and other costs tied to restricted non-compete provisions.
Ultimately, this new law strengthens worker mobility, and clearly states how California’s policy against non-competes overrides other states’ laws. However, there are still some unresolved issues within SB 699 that will likely be addressed by legislators in the near future.
Unresolved Issues Under SB 699
There are certain issues still unsettled under SB 699, including the lack of clarity around whether courts will continue to allow non solicitation agreements. As a result, this can restrict workers from soliciting an employer’s staff, with recent court rulings questioning the validity of these agreements as well.
It’s also uncertain how courts will handle choice-of-law and jurisdiction issues when employers try to enforce non-competes against California workers under another state’s law. The existing Labor Code Section 925 states that state law governs non-competes for employees who primarily work in California, though it remains to be seen how this provision works alongside SB 699.
Ultimately, SB 699 underscores California’s disfavor of non-compete agreements – and both employers and employees should stay up-to-date on these developments. Concerns still remain around how courts will approach enforcement of SB 699, and until those questions are answered, the full impact of this new bill remains unclear. Nonetheless, SB 699 underscores California’s focus on restricting non-competes. As an employee currently held under a non-compete agreement, be sure to monitor these developments closely as the policy continues to evolve.
Mediation & Conflict Resolution
Should you as an employee or your company need help with mediating or resolving any conflicts related to non-compete agreements, prior to pursuing or continuing in a lawsuit or litigation, consider contacting an experienced mediator or neutral like myself to assist. Mediation and alternative dispute resolution is almost always the best choice and guarantee of certainty in a resolution.
Experienced Employment & Title IX Mediator & ADR Professional
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment, labor law & Title IX mediator and alternative dispute resolution professional. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal, and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Signature Resolution, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation and resolution of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, fraternities, and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright, LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/angelareddock, and tune in to my weekly radio show, KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11 am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify. You can learn more about the radio show here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/radio-show/.
Also, learn more about my book – The Workplace Transformed: 7 Crucial Lessons from the Global Pandemic – here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/book/.
For media inquiries, please reach out to email@example.com.
For more information regarding resources mediation and dispute resolution resources for both employees and employers, connect with Angela on LinkedIn for new updates or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.