A non-compete agreement is a legal document that is widely used by employers across the United States. It is designed to prevent employees from working for a competitor or starting a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving their current job. However, the specifics of non-compete agreements can vary from state to state, and in this article, we will be discussing non-compete agreements in California, particularly when they involve out-of-state employees.

California and Non-Compete Agreements

California has some of the strictest laws governing non-compete agreements in the country. In general, these agreements are considered unenforceable in California unless they meet certain specific requirements. California law prohibits any agreement that restricts an individual’s ability to work, and non-compete agreements are seen as a form of restraint of trade.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, non-compete agreements are allowed in the context of the sale of a business. Second, they are allowed in certain circumstances when the employee is leaving and has access to trade secrets or other confidential information.

Non-Compete Agreements and Out-of-State Employees

When it comes to out-of-state employees, the laws governing non-compete agreements can become more complicated. For example, an employee who lives and works in another state may be required to sign a non-compete agreement with a California-based employer. Whether or not this agreement is enforceable will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific terms of the agreement, the state in which the employee lives, and the state in which the employer is headquartered.

If a non-compete agreement is deemed unenforceable in California, then it is unlikely to be enforced in other states as well. However, if the agreement is deemed enforceable in California, then the employer may be able to pursue legal action against the employee in the employee’s home state. This can be a tricky and complex process, and it is essential that employers consult with experienced attorneys who are familiar with the laws in both California and the employee’s home state.


Non-compete agreements can be a useful tool for employers, but they must be carefully crafted to comply with the laws in California. If an out-of-state employee is involved, then the situation can become even more complicated. Employers should work with attorneys who are experienced in these matters to ensure that their non-compete agreements are legally sound and enforceable. Additionally, employees who are asked to sign non-compete agreements should always consult with their own attorneys before signing anything to make sure they understand the terms and potential consequences.