In the above case, the court held that section 16600 of the California Business Code expressly prohibited the use of non-competition agreements. However, note that the court has also decided that there are certain legal exceptions to this rule. Thus, the court stated that its judgment would not apply to trade secrets. Unlike non-competitors, there are no legal exceptions to enforce customer non-call agreements that are routinely voided. A California court will generally only apply these agreements if they are directly related to the protection of corporate trade secrets – for example, where a contract states that an employee “must not use corporate trade secrets to ask for companies” – and whether the company does have legitimate business secrets. This “business secrets exception” also applies to non-invitation agreements for workers and non-competitors: in essence, when a company is able to convince a court that the language of the contract was necessary to protect the confidentiality of its legitimate trade secrets, there is a good enforceable coup de force. If you work for a California employer that requires you to sign a contract not to compete, or a non-compete agreement, can it be imposed against you in California if you leave your job for a new job in another place? In general, California does not allow the application of non-compete obligations, contrary to public policy, and legislative changes from 2018 offer additional protection to workers who wish to avoid the application of a non-compete agreement by their California employer. To better understand how and when non-competition bans are applicable in California, it is important to examine the facts of Edwards v. Arthur Andersen, a pioneering trial that took place in 2008. In that case, the California Supreme Court upheld that non-competition prohibitions do not apply in California and that the policy that promotes an employee`s ability to change workplaces is valid. California courts have generally treated clauses limiting client demand as non-compete agreements, meaning those clauses would not be applicable. However, the courts, both nationally and federally, have supported the section 16600 trade secrecy exception and have also authorized the application of non-requests for trade secrets.
Appeal courts in California have ruled that family judges have the option of ordering non-compete prohibitions if they are necessary to properly allocate marital property in a divorce. In one case, for example, a judge assigned the husband a business owned by a man and a woman.