San Jose, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Is an NDA a non-compete agreement?

I worked as a contractor for a firm in silicon valley. I was paid every two weeks. All employees at this firm are on contractor status. Everyone is paid on a twice weekly basis. as such, they are treated as salaried employees. i was laid off last week. the founder requests that i not contact their customers. there was no signed contract at any point in my contractor relationship with this firm. there was no non-compete agreement. there were no signed exit papers. the only signed agreement was an NDA. what are my limits as a former contractor in terms of soliciting business from their existing customers? And, what limits are there pertaining to existing customer leads? thank you

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2 Lawyer Answers
Christie Asselin
Christie Asselin
  • La Crescenta, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Non-compete agreements are generally not legal in CA. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, an employee may not misappropriate "trade secrets." The non-disclosure agreement ("NDA") that you sign may reference trade secrets.

I can't give a full analysis of your particular situation (or the “NDA”) because there are not sufficient facts. I can only give you general legal information. You should consult with an attorney.

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Houman Fakhimi
Houman Fakhimi
  • Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No. An NDA limits you in disclosing trade secrets or proprietary information. In many instances employers will over reach in designating information such as client lists as trade secrets or proprietary . I would consult a attorney before contacting the customers.

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