UC Law Journal


Hanna Bui-Eve


The Silicon Valley is one of the most important moneygenerating regions of America. Its phenomenal success is the result of a unique regional network-based industrial system which operates as a kind of meta-organization. Engineers move frequently between firms and projects, taking the knowledge, skills, and experience acquired at previous jobs and using them as building blocks in their new jobs. California courts have contributed to Silicon Valley's success by allowing workers easy mobility among jobs and by restricting employers' attempts to restrain employees from relocating. As a result, most employers have come to accept a high turnover rate as a cost of doing business in the region.

This Note addresses a possible crisis facing the world's technology hub. After two decades of amicable farewells, lawsuits threaten the Valley's valuable network-based system. Silicon Valley employers are increasingly bringing lawsuits against departing employees and the firms that hire them. Using California employment law and, where needed, the law of other jurisdictions, this Note examines the most common causes of action advanced by former employers against former employees. By analyzing these causes of action, the Note determines the employer's rights and duties in specific situations and recommends practices to help new employers avoid and deal effectively with potential lawsuits.

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