California non-compete law has just been shaken-up—and the ripples are likely to travel across the country. For decades and save for narrow exceptions, California Business and Professions Code § 16600 has made post-employment non-competes unenforceable due to their potential to unduly restrain an individual’s business or profession. Effective January 1, 2024, however, Senate Bill 699 (“SB 699”) drastically expands both the protections and the reach of California’s prohibition on employee non-competes.
Specifically, SB 699:
- prohibits an employer or former employer from even attempting to enforce a contract that is void under Section 16600;
- grants current, former, and even prospective employees a private right of action for damages and injunctive relief—and to recover attorney’s fees and costs; and
- applies to all non-competes “regardless of where and when the contract was signed.”