Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP, 142 Cal. App. 4th 603 (2006)

Raymond Edwards II, the former tax manager for the Los Angeles office of the now defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, had executed a non-competition agreement that prohibited him from performing professional services for 18 months post-employment for any client whose account he had handled during the final 18 months of his employment with Andersen. He also was prohibited from soliciting clients as well as other Andersen employees. In his lawsuit against Andersen, Edwards alleged intentional interference with prospective economic advantage arising from these noncompete/ non-solicitation covenants. The Court of Appeal rejected the “narrow restraint” exception to Business & Professions Code § 16600 (which strictly prohibits non-competes in California) and held not only that the non-compete and customer non-solicitation provisions were unenforceable but that their use created potential tort liability for Andersen. (The Court upheld the employee non-solicitation and the nondisparagement provisions of the Andersen agreement.) Finally, Andersen’s failure to carve-out Edwards’s statutory right to indemnity from a general release agreement that Edwards had signed also created potential tort liability for the company. Cf. Strategix, Ltd. v. Infocrossing West, Inc., 2006 WL 2589988 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006) (under Bus. & Prof. Code § 16601, seller of business may only be prohibited from soliciting its own customers and employees who were transferred to buyer as part of an asset sale).

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Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including…

Anthony J. Oncidi is the co-chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

“Tony is the author of the treatise titled Employment Discrimination Depositions (Juris Pub’g 2020; www.jurispub.com), co-author of Proskauer on Privacy (PLI 2020), and, since 1990, has been a regular columnist for the official publication of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Tony has been a featured guest on Fox 11 News and CBS News in Los Angeles. He has been interviewed and quoted by leading national media outlets such as The National Law JournalBloomberg News, The New York Times, and Newsweek and Time magazines. Tony is a frequent speaker on employment law topics for large and small groups of employers and their counsel, including the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”), PIHRA, the National CLE Conference, National Business Institute, the Employment Round Table of Southern California (Board Member), the Council on Education in Management, the Institute for Corporate Counsel, the State Bar of California, the California Continuing Education of the Bar Program and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. He has testified as an expert witness regarding wage and hour issues as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and has served as a faculty member of the National Employment Law Institute. He has served as an arbitrator in an employment discrimination matter.

Tony is an appointed Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission Board of Rights and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law and a guest lecturer at USC Law School and a guest lecturer at UCLA Law School.