SAN FRANCISCO — It’s clear under the California Business and Professions Code that no-hire agreements are not permissible. Employers cannot make employees sign agreements that they won’t work for a competitor. But when it comes to nonsolicitation agreements, particularly between companies, the law is less certain.

Class actions alleging that Apple Inc., Google Inc. and others violated the law by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees could provide much-needed clarity about whether nonsolicitation agreements are legal in California, lawyers in Silicon Valley say.

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