The COVID-19 pandemic cast a spotlight on the side of human nature, which actively seeks to make its own bad moods worse. With very few opportunities to socialize and very few in-person work commitments to distract us from seeking our worst moods or to keep us to a schedule, we turned to doom scrolling through news headlines and hated watching TV series and YouTube channels that we could tell, just from the titles and the thumbnail images, that we would not like. These are the things one does in our loneliest moments, and in the summer of 2020, every moment was our loneliest moment.
Perhaps the quintessential loneliest moment action in which one can engage is to view the social media accounts of one’s ex-romantic partner. No matter what your ex says on social media, it is going to make you angry. How dare your ex get into another romantic relationship? How dare your ex have fun playing frisbee on the beach with his dog, regardless of whether or not he is still single? How dare your ex wish his mother a happy birthday? All of your anger is futile, though, because now that you and your ex have broken up, what your ex does or does not do is none of your business.
This is similar to the attitude that California law takes toward employers trying to enforce non-compete agreements with former employees. California law gives you the right to continue to practice your profession after leaving your previous job, even if it makes your employer jealous. The San Francisco non-compete agreements lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you if your employer wants you to sign a non-compete agreement or if you have already signed one.
The Importance of Reading the Fine Print in Your San Francisco Employment Contract
Employment contracts tell you more than just how long your job is guaranteed to last and how much money you will earn. It also includes provisions related to legal matters concerning your contract and your employment. For example, it includes provisions about a breach of contract, force majeure events (disasters so major that your contract protects you from a breach of contract lawsuit if you are unable to fulfill your contractual obligations due to the disaster), and procedures for resolving disputes related to the contract.
Some employment contracts include non-compete clauses, which restrict the employee from engaging in business activities that compete directly with the employer. Before you sign an employment contract, you should review it thoroughly with a San Francisco employment lawyer. Your lawyer can help you understand the implications of the non-compete clause and the other provisions of your contract. Based on this, you can decide whether you want to ask the employer to modify any of the clauses of the contract before you sign.
Non-compete clauses often occur as part of the employment contract. In some situations, though, employers ask employees to sign free-standing non-compete agreements before they are hired or after they have already started working.
What is the Difference Between a Non-Compete Agreement and a Non-Disclosure Agreement in San Francisco?
Non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements often occur together, but they are not exactly the same thing. A non-disclosure agreement prevents you from revealing confidential information to which you were a party as a result of your employment. A non-compete agreement can restrict the disclosure of certain pieces of information if revealing that information would constitute competing with your employer. That is not the only restriction that non-compete agreements can impose, though. A non-compete agreement can forbid you to set up your own business that competes directly with your employer. The most restrictive ones can prevent you from seeking employment with one of your employer’s existing competitors. In practice, these agreements are only enforceable if they have short time limits, namely two years or less. Otherwise, they would be “you’ll never work in this town again” agreements, and not only would they be harmful to employees, but they would also discourage fair competition in the market economy.
What is Legal in San Francisco Non-Compete Agreements?
California law does not allow the enforcement of non-compete provisions that place restrictions on the employment that an employee can hold. If your occupation is being a hot dog chef, then if you quit your job at Gold Rush Dawgz today, you have the right to start working at Golden Gate Franks tomorrow, and there is nothing your former employer can do to stop you. It is legal, however, for employers to ask employees to agree not to solicit clients from the former employer, especially if the employee gained access to the clients’ contact information while working for the former employer. It is also legal for non-compete agreements to forbid the sharing of trade secrets. If, while working at Gold Rush Dawgz, you learned a proprietary recipe for sourdough hot dog buns, you cannot take a picture of the recipe with your phone and then recreate the recipe at Golden Gate Franks.
Resolving Disputes Related to Non-Compete Agreements
Since businesses cannot legally prevent their former employees from working for other existing businesses in the same industry and the same city, many legal disputes over non-compete agreements relate to employees setting up their own businesses that compete with the former employer, and with the misuse of trade secrets or client lists. If you are planning to set up a new company that fills a similar market niche to the one your previous job fills, it is a good idea to strategize with a lawyer first. Which of your business ideas are yours to use and to develop, and which do you only know because of trade secrets that belong to your former employer?
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Non-Compete Agreements in San Francisco
The San Francisco employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you resolve disputes related to non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicitation agreements that you signed with your former employer or that your employer wants you to sign. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in San Francisco, California, to set up a consultation.