Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

If you’re looking to do business in California, you’ve probably heard of the Golden State’s notorious non-compete laws. And if you’re an employee you may be aware that you’re free(er) to look for a new job in a similar industry in California. Up to recently, out-of-state companies could use loopholes in California law to re-route any non-compete disputes back to more favorable jurisdictions by requiring the employee to make a claim in the original jurisdiction. But the law is now making it even harder to get around California’s non-compete restrictions, as companies can no longer select a jurisdiction to litigate non-compete disputes, according to California Labor Code Section 925. The lesson is, craft your employee agreements to comply with California law, include mediation clauses, and be deliberate and specific about the kind of information you are trying to protect. Most importantly, if disputes do arise, mediate, don’t litigate. Mediation is a completely confidential process that can protect important information that would be revealed in court. Employers or employees don’t have to part ways or begin a relationship on uncertain or acrimonious terms; mediation between parties, whether required in agreements or availed of later on, may be able to contain information leaks before they become information oilspills.

If you want to prevent crises caused by employees who take skills and information elsewhere, some steps to take could include drafting comprehensive employee agreements with mediation clauses, making sure to update agreements when employees’ roles change, and being extremely specific about the kinds of information that is protected in employee contracts. For example, identify types of confidential information, such as client information, research findings and budgeting. The more specifically information is identified, the more employers can be certain that employees don’t cross lines when they move to a new job. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we offer business negotiation when business relationships are beginning or ending. Business mediation can bring clarity and security to any negotiation, including negotiating with new employees, departing employees or during disputes between employees and employers over skills and information transfer. Often when agreements are violated and information is transferred it is inadvertent. Unlike litigators mediators can have specific technical expertise to identify the kinds of professional activities and information that employees agree to limit, and can review employee agreements when mediating disputes to find a favorable solution for both sides.

Mediation is a non-adversarial process that considers the interests of all parties. Good employer-employee relationships are critical to employee wellbeing, a company’s reputation and company morale. At Boileau Conflict Solutions, we aim to preserve and strengthen important business relationships including employee-employer relationships. Mediation can prevent the deterioration of important employer-employee relationships, and it can help mend relations if there has been a dispute. Approaches such as game theory can be used to make a mathematical calculation of how diverging interests can be channeled into a cooperative solution that benefits all. We are well-educated mediators with legal, financial and psychology backgrounds, who apply mathematical, and psychological principles to tackle underlying patterns of conflict with the goal of finding a secure, mutually satisfying resolution. If you are concerned about non-compete issues in employee agreements, or need to mediate an employee dispute, we are available 7 days a week from our offices in Campbell, CA, Missoula, MT and Boulder, CO. Please call us via telephone, Skype or Zoom or visit our office for a completely confidential consultation.

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