by David L. Simson –
California law is well settled that most contractual provisions prohibiting competing with or soliciting customers of a former employer are unenforceable under California Business and Professions Code 16600, unless the activity involves misappropriation of trade secrets or confidential information. Nonetheless, case law appears to hold that a restriction on one type of post-employment activity— hiring away former co-workers—might still be permitted. In 2008, the California Supreme Court once again addressed the scope of section 16600. This Note examines employee nonsolicitation covenants in light of that decision, including whether they remain legally defensible, and whether they retain any value for the employer in today’s social-media-connected society.