NON-COMPETES, EMAILS, AND COMPUTERS
I know the title of today’s blog seems disconnected…but its not!
Smart employees, who have signed a noncompete agreement, seek legal counsel BEFORE they consider leaving their current job to work for a competitor. These clients hear the same advice from us every time:
DO NOT USE COMPANY COMPUTERS OR EMAIL TO PLAN YOUR DEPARTURE AND YOUR NEW COMPETING BUSINESS!
DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR COPY CUSTOMER LISTS OR PRICING INFORMATION FROM YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER!
Why do we tell all of our clients this? Because this type of activity leaves “foot prints” even if the emails have been erased. The critical information remains on the computer hard drive or the email server. In many cases, the first thing the employer’s attorney does is to hire a computer forensic expert. The expert then examines the company’s computer system to see what evidence the ex-employee left behind…what files accessed…what files copied, etc. The employer’s attorney may even request a court order for the ex-employee (now defendant in a lawsuit) to turn over his/her hard drive on their home computer so the forensic computer expert can examine it as well. The type of evidence discovered can make or break the case.