SUING AN EMPLOYEE – BAD BUSINESS DECISION?

Every business, industry and company is unique. I by no means can tell you that companies handle non-competes in the same way, but we do see trends.

Ironically, it is the good employees with the solid customer relationships that get sued more often then the terrible employees. Why? Because terrible employees don’t pose a real threat.

If you sue an ex-employee for taking your business, you will likely have to subpoena those old customers to Court and have them testify against their old friend.

Do customers like going to Court?

          No. They don’t.

Do you think they will continue to use your services after they realize you sue old employees and drag them into it?

         I don’t think they will.

And will it make your company look greedy and bad if in fact the ex-employee is a good person just trying to make a living?
        Yup.

But is it totally legal in Virginia to go after an old employee and drag customers into the fray?
        Yes.

So here is a small summary about non-compete cases.
Employers and employees do take them personally.
Families do not do well in litigation – they just don’t. Wives call my office begging me to make the litigation stop.
Customers don’t like litigation.

So why do it? Why spend thousands of dollars to sue an ex-employee?
Sometimes it’s worth the risk and there is a legit business interest to protect.
Sometimes, there is a different motivation.

But as I represent employees, let me speak to them for a minute. Don’t assume you can go compete and then get caught in litigation. Let a professional explain your rights and restrictions as soon as you consider leaving. It will save heartache for many in the long run, and maybe even prevent you from spending a year in court.

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.