“Hey, congratulations on making partner,” someone says to me in the gym.
I wonder how on earth they know that and then I realize they probably got an email from LinkedIn notifying them of my promotion (albeit 6 months after the fact because I didn’t rush to change the title).
As most of us in the business world know, LinkedIn provides push notifications to your connections that may include your new contact information, job title, etc.
And for those of us who handle business litigation cases, we are seeing social medial (LinkedIn included) being used as evidence in cases where companies are alleging their ex-employees have breached their contracts, non-solicitations, violated fiduciary duties of loyalty, interfered with business expectancies etc.
The Courts are even being asked to determine if a LinkedIn push notification that says CONGRATULATE FRED ON HIS NEW JOB AS SALES MANAGER OF VIRGINIA WIDGETS LLC is a solicitation of past costumers in violation of a contract.
Thankfully, a client recently shared with me a little known (maybe not to the rest of the world but it was news to me) secret that you can stop LinkedIn from making these email announcements on your behalf.
HERE IS HOW:
- 1. Once signed in, click on your picture in the top right to go to “Account & Settings”, then select Review under “Privacy & Settings”.
- 2. Under Privacy Controls click on “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts”
- 3. In the resulting dialog box, *uncheck* the box. This will mean that activity updates aren’t automatically sent out. Of course, if folks navigate to your profile, they can see what has changed.
So, in light of this great development, my standard advice to employees leaving one job for another will change.
I advise folks to get the permission of company 1 (your old employer) to update your LinkedIn profile to include your new contact information once you leave. If they agree, great. If not, and you do it, it could be alleged such amendment is a solicitation and in violation of your contract. Further, it could be alleged your LinkedIn contacts are not your property, but the confidential and protected information of your old company. So permission is always better than forgiveness.
Now, I am going to advise clients to discuss LinkedIn when they leave, AND maybe turn off the push notifications. No, you won’t be hiding your new employment (because hiding things and being less than truthful leads to litigation) simply broadcasting it to a much smaller audience and not “soliciting” folks to follow your new job.
Of course, each situation is different and when you call our office, our legal advice is tailored to your situation, contract etc. This blog is not intended to be legal advice. Just a conversation. To continue the conversation or learn how you can try to avoid getting sued, call for more information at 540-985-0098.