Category Archives: California Questions

California Non-Competes, Quirky Question # 55

Quirky Question # 55:

We have a highly mobile workforce, and we are concerned about our former employees going to work for a competitor, stealing our customers, and raiding our employees.  We are a technology based company and have developed proprietary information that would give our competitors an edge if our former employees were to use or disclose it to them.  We are based in California and understand that it has a very narrow view of non-competition agreements.  It seems very unfair.  If we put provisions into our contracts to try to stop this from happening, what are the chances that the contract will be enforceable?

[Quirky Question # 55 is another one of our California Questions.  As such, I have requested one of my California colleagues to provide the analysis.  The analysis below was written by Karen Wentzel of our Palo Alto office.  As I’ve described previously, Karen is a Stanford Law School grad, who has been practicing employment law for more than 20 years.  Karen’s biography can be found at www.dorsey.com.  Her email address is:  wentzel.karen@dorsey.com.  If you would like to see other analyses provided by Karen, click on the “View by Topic” box to the left of this posting, and scroll down to “California Questions.”  Click on that category and other California questions will be displayed.

If you have any particularly unusual questions pertaining to California law, you can send them either to Karen or me.] Answer→

Working Another Job While Taking “Leave,” Quirky Question # 40

Quirky Question # 40:

We have an employee who is claiming she has a serious health condition as a result of work-related stress and has given us a note from a nurse practitioner saying she should be off work for a month.  We don’t believe she has a serious medical condition, in part because we’ve heard that she is working part-time in a similar job.  She has refused to return to work.  Can we simply terminate her employment?

[Quirky Question # 40 is another one of our California Questions. As such, I have requested one of my California colleagues to provide the analysis. The analysis below was written by Karen Wentzel of our Palo Alto office. As I’ve described previously, Karen is a Stanford Law School grad, who has been practicing employment law for more than 20 years. Karen’s biography can be found at www.dorsey.com. Her email address is: wentzel.karen@dorsey.com. If you have any particularly unusual questions pertaining to California law, you can send them either to Karen or me.] Answer→

Quirky Question # 29, Maintaining Electronic Records

Quirky Question # 29:

Our company has offices in California.  This year we want to improve our document retention practices.  We’ve decided to maintain electronic records of personnel files.  Can we do this in California?  We were told that California law requires the records to be available at the job site.  If this is true, can we switch to an electronic database in California? Answer→

Medical Marijuana Use In the Workplace, Quirky Question # 21 (California Issue)

Quirky Question # 21:

We recently made a job offer to a gentleman as a lead systems administrator in the California division of our telecommunications company.  As part of our routine pre-employment drug testing, he tested positive for marijuana.  However, the applicant presented us with a doctor’s note allowing him to use “medical marijuana” for chronic back pain cause by injuries he suffered while on active duty in the Air Force.  He explained that he’s been using it for years, he only uses it at home, and it has never had a negative impact on his job performance.

It’s our company’s policy not to hire anyone who tests positive for illegal drug use.  But this is the first time we have been presented with a doctor’s note authorizing the marijuana use for medical reasons.  Are we going to be in trouble if we refuse to hire him? Answer→