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

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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