Starting a Business

I am looking to start a business doing the same exact thing I currently do for my employer. I do not have a non-compete or non-solicitation contract. There is also nothing in my original offer letter that addresses something like this and we don’t have a handbook. We are a small 7 person company. Technically my title is VP of Sales but functionally I am the only active salesperson. I am not an officer of the company, however I do have signing authority on the checking account in case something happens to the owner. In my extra time, I would like to start soliciting business for my start-up while still working for my existing employer. I will not be using any company resources, lists, etc. Can I do this?

Asked on February 18, 2019 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, you can as long as you do what you evidently already know you should do: not use company resources or lists. In the absence of a contract (e.g. non-competiton or non-solicitation agreement) to the contrary, you can compete with a company or solicit for a start-up (so long as you are not an owner, who would then have fiduciary duties to other owners) as long as you are not using any company materials, property, or resources. Only a written agreement bars competiton or solicitation by employees.


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