Non-solicit agreements, also known as covenants not to compete, are becoming increasingly common in the employment world. These agreements prohibit employees from soliciting their former employer`s clients or employees for a certain period of time after leaving the company. While they are legal in many states, there are certain restrictions on non-solicit agreements in California.
Under California Business and Professions Code § 16600, non-solicit agreements that prevent an employee from engaging in their chosen profession or trade are considered void. This means that non-solicitation provisions are unenforceable in California if they prevent a former employee from continuing to work in their field of expertise.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Non-solicit agreements may be enforceable if they are narrowly tailored to protect a company`s trade secrets or confidential information. In this case, the employer must be able to prove that the agreement is necessary to protect their legitimate business interests.
It`s also important to note that non-solicit agreements are separate from non-compete agreements, which are generally unenforceable in California. Non-compete agreements prevent employees from working for a competitor after leaving their current employer. While non-compete agreements are legal in some states, they are generally not enforceable in California.
While non-solicit agreements may provide some protection for employers, they should be used judiciously and with caution. Employers should carefully craft their agreements to ensure that they are narrowly tailored to protect their legitimate business interests. Additionally, employers should be aware that a poorly drafted agreement could actually harm their business by limiting their ability to hire new employees or expand their client base.
In conclusion, non-solicit agreements are generally unenforceable in California unless they are narrowly tailored to protect a company`s trade secrets or confidential information. Employers should be careful when crafting these agreements and should work with experienced legal counsel to ensure that they are properly crafted and enforceable. For employees, it`s important to understand your rights under California law and to seek legal advice if you believe that your non-solicit agreement is overly restrictive.