Many people focus on how unenforceable non-compete agreements can be. In fact, in California, unlike in many other states, employers generally cannot enforce non-competition agreements with their former employees. The main exception in California is if the departing employee is also an owner of the company. However, savvy California business owners know that a solid confidentiality, non-disclosure and anti-solicitation agreement can go a long way toward protecting trade secrets and other legitimate business interests.
Non-disclosure agreements can be fully enforceable and fair to both employer and employee. For a non-disclosure agreement to remain enforceable, it has to be reasonable.
What makes a non-disclosure agreement enforceable?
Most valuable trade secret information does not have an expiration date. As long as the information meets the definition of a trade secret, it should be protected from disclosure.
At the heart of a strong non-disclosure agreement is an explicit understanding of what you are actually protecting. Non-disclosure agreements do best when they are very specific about what, exactly, they are protecting and why.
Another key thing that must be shown in order to enforce a non-disclosure agreement against a former employee is that the information was, in fact, at all times treated as confidential by the employer. That means things like limiting access to the trade secret information only to those that “need to know,” and taking affirmative steps to protect the information from disclosure to others within and outside of the company.
By setting solid parameters around your non-disclosure agreement and backing up those parameters with evidence, you can ensure that it will hold up in court. Visit our webpage to learn more about the importance of solid employment contracts.