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I have signed a non-compete agreement with an employer in State of Washington but work in California. Can he file a case in WA?

Chico, CA |

The job and I are in CA. This agreement was signed remotely from CA.

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. Washington law may substantially differ from California law on this subject, and if it does, the company could bring an action in Washington against you for breach of the non-compete agreement even though California considers such agreements to be unenforceable. It is truly a strange and unfair situation, but it is the reality for employees in California who work with companies from other states.

You could beat the company to the courthouse to get a finding that the provision is unenforceable, and that would preclude another state from ruling otherwise. However, that means you would have to file litigation here first - an expensive and aggressive move.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


Does the agreement state whether the parties agree that it will be interpreted under the laws of Washington or California?

Law Offices of Linh T. Nguyen 916.509.7200 Disclaimer: This reply is not intended to be and does not constitute legal advice or the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. I always recommend consulting with an attorney, especially since many attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations.


Nothing prevents the employer from filing a lawsuit against you in the State of Washington. Should that actually happen, you would need to hire an attorney in Washington to file the appropriate motion(s) to dismiss or transfer the case to California, or at the very least, have the Washington court apply California law regarding the non-competition agreement.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.