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Legally bind to have employees sign a non-competition contract?

San Francisco, CA |

Recently some of my workers left my restaurant and opened their own within a few blocks from my own. It is legally bind to have employees sign a paper/contract saying:

-They cannot work as competitors within 5 miles after termination for 12 months

-They cannot open the same type of business within 5 miles from mine

-After termination, they can not contact current employees for recruiting purpose.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Noncompete agreements of the type you want to enforce are not enforceable in CA. You can have a contract in which employees gree not to recuit or solicit your employees, though and to not use or disclose your trade secrets.


  2. I agree with Ms. Karila. Non-competes are not enforeceable in California unless in connection with the sale of a business including the goodwill. Non-solicitation (your third point) is not the same as non-complete and may be enforeceable.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  3. I concur with attorney Karila. You should retail a local employment law attorney to draft your documents - worth the attorney fee in the long run.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  4. The only permissible restriction would be to bar the solicitation of current employees. The other non-compete restrictions you propose are not valid in California. If you fire an employee for refusing to sign an unlawful non-compete agreement they will have a claim against you for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

    This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Law Offices of John Valentine, Jr., pursuant to an executed engagement agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice.

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