1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person, association, company or corporation within this State, or any agent or officer on behalf of the person, association, company or corporation, who willfully does anything intended to prevent any person who for any cause left or was discharged from his, her or its employ from obtaining employment elsewhere in this State is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

2.  In addition to any other remedy or penalty, the Labor Commissioner may impose against each culpable party an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation.

3.  If a fine or an administrative penalty is imposed pursuant to this section, the costs of the proceeding, including investigative costs and attorney’s fees, may be recovered by the Labor Commissioner.

4.  The provisions of this section do not prohibit a person, association, company, corporation, agent or officer from negotiating, executing and enforcing an agreement with an employee of the person, association, company or corporation which, upon termination of the employment, prohibits the employee from:

(a) Pursuing a similar vocation in competition with or becoming employed by a competitor of the person, association, company or corporation; or

(b) Disclosing any trade secrets, business methods, lists of customers, secret formulas or processes or confidential information learned or obtained during the course of his or her employment with the person, association, company or corporation, if the agreement is supported by valuable consideration and is otherwise reasonable in its scope and duration.