I attended a seminar yesterday, put on by three very capable attorneys who represent businesses in employment issues.

They advise small and large companies, like the one you work for, or used to work for, what to do when an employee leaves and there is rumor of competition, breach of contract, use of trade secrets etc.

The first bit of advice they give their clients – is to READ ALL OF YOUR OLD COMPANY EMAILS, and have a forensic expert wipe down your computer.

That means someone will come in and see what files you accessed, printed, saved, emailed to yourself, who you have been contacting, what you have been saying etc.

That means that your work habits are now being scrutinized to see if you intended to compete, and how you went about it.

Guess what. If they find any clues that make them think you were planning on leaving and using their secret stuff, customer lists, formulas, etc., they will do the following:
1. Send cease and desist letter to you and your new company.
2. File suit against you and your new company.
3. Barrage you with legal documents and claims so you have to hire an attorney to defend yourself – quick.
4. Ask for an injunction that you not be allowed to do what you wanted.

Interested in defending a lawsuit? If so, then you should take confidential information with you and plan the exit for months. Want to spend your savings defending a non-compete case in your local court? Then telling your friends on linked in about your new job and how they can send you business is a swell idea.

Please be smart folks. Not all non-compete agreements are valid. Not all actions are illegal – but you should have a healthy dose of respect for the law before you act.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.