California has a strong public policy against agreements that prohibit employees from working for a competing company or starting up a competing business themselves. All blanket non-competes are automatically void under state law. Courts have also held agreements that prevent former employees from soliciting the company’s customers generally are not enforceable, unless they are limited to protecting the company's intellectual property rights.
That California disfavors non-competes is not a secret. Less clear, however, has been the law surrounding agreements that prohibit soliciting and/or hiring a company's employees. There are instances where courts have accepted limited agreements of this type. Read more.