Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.
Generally, the sort of agreement you have described would be unenforceable pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 16600, which states: "Except as provided in this chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void."
Quite simply, if the agreement prohibits an employee from "engaging" in that same industry following termintion of employment in any manner, it falls within this definition. Restrain on the ability to do business with former clients clearly falls within this definition, and numerous California cases have expressly held so. See here for a recent case in which the court invalidated an 18-month non-solicitation restriction on a former employee of a tax services company that prohibited the employee from providing services to any of the former employer's clients for a year: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3664324957067638309&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
There are a few VERY narrow exceptions to the general rule that restraints on competition are unenforceable. The exceptions are a bit complex but include the following: (1) If an owner is selling the goodwill in their business (goodwill is the reputation and name of the business); (2) When there is a dissolution or disassociation of a partnership or (3) Where there is a dissolution of a limited liability company. There is also a limited exception for "trade secrets."
However, a general prohibition on doing business with former clients would almost certainly be unenforceable. Accordingly, an employee under the circumstances you describe would not typically be violating an enforceable contract by dealing with former clients.
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.
If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit,
as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY
or CONTINUE CONVERSATION
button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you.
Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Thank you and very kindest regards.