Second District, Division One Holds that a Tameny Claim Exists When Subsequent Employer Honors Putatively Invalid Restraint on Competition Entered Into Between Employee and Previous Employer – and Reversal of Attorney’s Fee Award Follows.
A Tameny claim is a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, under Tameny v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 27 Cal.3d 167 (1980). The interesting question presented in the next case is whether an employee has a viable Tameny claim against her subsequent employer when the former employer contacts the subsequent employer, informs it that the employee signed an agreement prohibiting the employee from sales activities for 18 months, and the subsequent employer respects that agreement, even though it believes that non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable in California. Silguero v. Creteguard, Inc., Case No. B215179 (2nd Dist., Div. 1 July 30, 2010) (certified for partial publication). The answer: yes.
Creteguard argued it was the prevailing party under FEHA, and sought over $50,000 in attorney’s fees. The trial court awarded Creteguard $23,532.50 in fees. However, when the Court of Appeal directed the trial court to overrule Creteguard’s demurrer, the order awarding attorney’s fees and costs was also dismissed. This part of the opinion, though relevant to the topic of our blawg, is admittedly less gripping than the Court’s holding that a Tameny claim existed. In fact, the discussion of attorney’s fees is not certified for publication.
Justice Mallano authored the 3-0 opinion.
Note to our readers: We have added another sidebar category to our blawg: Cases: Employment.