Employers Can’t Prevent Worker Poaching
Adding to its employee-friendly environment that statutorily prohibits restrictive covenants, a California appellate court has called into question whether employee non-solicitation clauses restraining former employees from soliciting former co-workers are allowed at all. A recruiter of temporary nursing workers sued its former employees and a competitor, alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of confidential information. The defendants counterclaimed for declaratory relief and unfair business competition. The employer lost. On appeal the court rejected prior case law and found the nonsolicitation provision of the employer’s confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement void. It also ruled the identities and contact information of its temporary workers were not secret, so not a trade secret. Even if they were, the employer was not harmed by disclosure.