Skip to content
Home » HR Industry Articles » California’s AB 1076: Notice Requirement for Void Noncompete Agreements

California’s AB 1076: Notice Requirement for Void Noncompete Agreements

    California has recently enacted Assembly Bill 1076 (AB 1076), a groundbreaking legislation effective from January 1, 2024, that significantly impacts employers’ ability to enforce noncompete agreements within the state. This article provides a comprehensive summary of AB 1076, its implications, and the necessary actions employers must take to comply with the new law.

    Background and Legislative Overview

    AB 1076, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 13, 2023, introduces a crucial amendment to Section 16600 of California’s Business and Professions Code. The amendment explicitly voids the application of any noncompete agreement or clause in an employment context, regardless of its specificity.

    Notice Requirements Under AB 1076: A Detailed Examination

    As employers grapple with the implications of California’s Assembly Bill 1076 (AB 1076), a deeper exploration of the notice requirements becomes essential. This section delves into the intricacies of the notice obligations imposed on employers by AB 1076, shedding light on the affected parties, the specific content of the notice, and the legal consequences of non-compliance.

    Affected Employees

    AB 1076 establishes clear criteria for identifying employees who necessitate notification:

    1. Date of Employment: Employees who were engaged by the company after January 1, 2022, fall within the purview of the notice requirement.
    2. California Location: The notice obligation applies exclusively to employees located within the state of California.
    3. Unenforceable Provisions: Employees who signed an employment agreement containing a noncompete provision, customer nonsolicitation provision, or any analogous provision deemed unenforceable under California law are subject to the notice requirement.

    Notice Deadline

    Employers must act promptly to deliver the required notice. The deadline set by AB 1076 is February 14, 2024. Failure to meet this deadline could expose employers to civil penalties under California’s Unfair Competition Law.

    Form and Content of Notice

    The notice, as outlined in AB 1076, must adhere to specific criteria:

    1. Written Communication: The notice must be in written form, emphasizing the importance of providing clear and documented information to the affected employees.
    2. Individualized Communication: Employers are obligated to tailor each notice to the individual employee, ensuring that the communication directly addresses their circumstances.
    3. Delivery to Last Known Addresses: Notices must be delivered to both the employee’s last known postal address and email address. This dual delivery method aims to reach employees through multiple channels, increasing the likelihood of receipt.
    4. Void Status in California: The content of the notice should unequivocally convey that the noncompete provisions within the employee’s agreement are void in the state of California. This explicit disclosure aligns with AB 1076’s objective of nullifying the application of such provisions within the state.

    Legal Consequences and Enforcement

    AB 1076 delineates the legal consequences for employers failing to adhere to the notice requirements. Understanding the potential ramifications is crucial for compliance.

    Civil Penalties

    A violation of the notice obligation is deemed an act of unfair competition under Chapter 5 of the Business and Professions Code. Employers found in non-compliance may face civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation. The severity of these penalties underscores the importance of timely and accurate notification.

    Case Law Codification

    AB 1076’s inclusion of existing case law, particularly referencing Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP (2008), serves as a reminder that the legislation aligns with established legal principles. This codification reinforces the broad interpretation of the prohibition on noncompete agreements within the employment context.

    Related Legislation and Broader Implications of California’s Noncompete Restrictions

    California’s recent legislative initiatives, notably Assembly Bill 1076 (AB 1076) and Senate Bill 699 (SB 699), collectively redefine the legal landscape surrounding noncompete agreements within the state. This section explores the broader implications of these legislative measures, emphasizing the interconnectedness between AB 1076 and SB 699 and their overarching impact on employers and employees alike.

    AB 1076: A Recap

    AB 1076, signed into law on October 13, 2023, introduces crucial amendments to California’s Business and Professions Code, specifically Section 16600.1. This legislation expressly renders noncompete agreements and clauses in an employment context void, irrespective of their specificity. The focus of this section expands on the related legislation and its far-reaching implications.

    Related Legislation: SB 699

    Private Right of Action

    In tandem with AB 1076, SB 699 reinforces California’s stance against restrictive covenants. SB 699 extends the ban on noncompete agreements to include those signed outside the state, irrespective of the state in which the employee worked. Additionally, SB 699 introduces a private right of action, providing employees with the means to pursue legal recourse against employers enforcing noncompete provisions in violation of California law.

    Nationwide Focus on Noncompetition Agreements

    The interplay between AB 1076 and SB 699 creates a nationwide focus on noncompetition agreements, signaling California’s determination to nullify such agreements, even if initially valid in other jurisdictions. This intersection underscores the need for employers to navigate a complex regulatory landscape and adapt their employment practices accordingly.

    Employer Compliance and Impact

    Obligations Under AB 1076

    AB 1076 imposes significant obligations on employers to identify affected employees and deliver individualized notices by February 14, 2024. This deadline necessitates swift action and careful compliance to avoid legal consequences.

    Applicability to Various Employers

    The impact of these legislative measures extends broadly to employers with any connection to California. This includes those with a physical presence in the state, as well as those with employees residing in California, regardless of the employer’s location. Even non-California-based employers must adhere to the notice requirements if their employees are California residents.

    Interstate Enforcement and Employee Relocation

    AB 1076 addresses scenarios where noncompete provisions were enforceable in another state at the time of execution but are now void in California due to employee relocation. This provision ensures that employees relocating to California are not bound by noncompete agreements initially valid elsewhere, aligning with California’s commitment to fostering a competitive and mobile workforce.


    California’s AB 1076 marks a significant shift in the legal landscape surrounding noncompete agreements in the state. Employers must promptly take the necessary steps to identify affected employees and deliver the required notices by February 14, 2024, to avoid legal repercussions. Understanding the broader legal context and related legislation is crucial for compliance with California’s evolving employment law landscape.


    • Assembly Bill 1076
    • Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP (2008)
    • Senate Bill 699
    • Business and Professions Code Section 16600

    Note: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be current or applicable to specific situations. Legal interpretations can vary, and the content may not encompass all relevant legal considerations. Readers are strongly advised to seek professional legal counsel regarding their particular circumstances.