Am I legally allowed to contact customers that I did work for after I left my former employer?

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Am I legally allowed to contact customers that I did work for after I left my former employer?

I worked for a company for 12 years as a general contractor. I recently decided to leave and pursue my own business. I had contacted a few customers I did work for and let them know that I had started my own business. I signed nothing about soliciting. Am I in violation of any law?

Asked on August 23, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary signed by the former employee and former employer preventing contact by the former employee one he or she leaves employment with customers, there is nothing legally improper with such contact.

The concern is always whether the former employee will end up taking clients or improperly using trade secrets from the former place of work. The hard thing is that in many circumstances customers go to a specific place of business because of the employee who does the work and not because of the owner of the business.

Your random contact with a few former customers that you worked for advising that you are now starting your own business would not be considered wrongful conduct by you. To protect yourself, you might consider creating a general announcement that you are on your own and send it to your friends, family and other people you know including former customers with nothing on the announcement even remotely suggesting that they call you for work.

If people call you as a result of the announcement, then your talents are in demand.

Good luck.


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