How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38879
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

in California, can a employer restrict a terminated salesperson

Customer Question

in California, can a employer restrict a terminated salesperson from calling on its clients if the clients were existing and obtained at the expense of the company?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  jaccorps_esq replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. Between my law practice and other law related jobs, I have over 13 years experience. I look forward to assisting you.

No. To even be able to do this in the first place, the employer would have to have a noncompete agreement with the salesperson, but that's only valid in other states.

California is very anti-noncompete and the facts you've mentioned here do not fit into the very narrow circumstances that California even recognizes noncompete agreements.

Only if the ex-employee is using proprietary information, like a customer list or manual that he/she took with them would there be any sort of claim by the employer, under the Unfair Business Practices Act.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
The answer is conflcting.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 6 years ago.

Different expert here. Please permit me to assist:

A former employee may use general knowledge, skill and experience acquired in his or her former employment in competition with a former employer; i.e., the former employee cannot be expected to “wipe his or her memory clean.” But “the former employee may not use confidential information or trade secrets in doing so.”

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (Cal. Civil Code 3426 et. seq.) defines a trade secret as “information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that:

  1. Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and
  2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

Nondisclosure agreements are not essential to obtaining judicial relief. Courts will prevent ex-employees from using/disclosing trade secrets under the tort of misappropriation of trade secrets even without a confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement.

See generally, Klamath-Orleans Lumber, Inc. v. Miller (1978) 87 CA3d 458, 465–466.

Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.

And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“To Socrateaser”), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

Related California Employment Law Questions