Among the mountains of paperwork employees receive and sign as part of new hire paperwork, employees commonly find non-compete agreements, non-noncompete clauses, or covenants not to compete. These terms essentially mean the same thing. In the context of employment, employers purpose these tools to prevent employees from taking the knowledge, insight, and customers they obtain from working for employers to benefit third-party competing organizations after leaving their jobs.
California makes non-compete agreements for employees void and unenforceable because this State has a strong public policy favoring peoples’ mobility, betterment, and right to pursue the employment of their choice, which outweighs employers’ competitive business interests. In other words, an employee in California generally may leave a company for a job with a direct competitor. However, employees with non-compete agreements still may be prohibited or enjoined by a court from engaging in unfair competition and misusing trade secret information of the employer who is a party to the non-compete agreement.
(See Link(s): Business & Professions Code Section 16600)