As a subcontractor in the state of Ca, can I legally take referrals from the companies clients as my own clients

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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As a subcontractor in the state of Ca, can I legally take referrals from the companies clients as my own clients

I work as as a subcontracted chef for a personal chef company in CA. My
employer had me sign a non-compete agreement that bars me from not only
working for existing clients the clients that I got from the company personally
but also any people referred to me by that client. So, according to the contract,
If a friend of one of my existing clients wants to hire me as a chef directly and
not through the company, this would not be allowed. Is this legal?

Asked on January 10, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. Terms in non-solicitations or non-competition agreements which limit your ability to work with the employer's clients or referrals from those clients are generally enforced, because those terms do not stop you from competing generally--they merely stop you from using connections you had only due to your employment to take work that might otherwise have gone to the employer. That limitation is seen as reasonable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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