An employer can protect its trade secrets. Indeed, an employer must protect its trade secrets in order for the information to remain a true "trade secret."
It is also common for employers to argue that former employees cannot use "confidential" information when competing against them - regardless of whether the information is truly confidential or truly a trade secret. In making these arguments, an employer will typically rely on a "Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement" which, depending on the circumstances, may or may not be enforceable.
Finally, while non-compete agreements are generally unenforceable in California, there are exceptions. These agreements may also be enforceable in other states.
When competing with a former employer, an employee must comply with the law. At the same time, he or she should not unreasonably restrain his or her ability to succeed and earn a living. It makes sense to consult with counsel in navigating the proper course.
Contact our office to discuss your employment law matter with one of our attorneys. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling 800-219-1920.