Can a current employer sue an employee who begins working for a competitor firm, if the employee signed a non-soliciation agreement?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a current employer sue an employee who begins working for a competitor firm, if the employee signed a non-soliciation agreement?

I currently work for a company where the client has fired my firm. The client

has expressed interest in me continuing to work for them from a different

agency. When hired at my current employer I never signed a non-compete,

instead I signed an agreement which stated that I would not solicit, divert or

appropriate for a competing business for a year after termination.

In this case I am not taking away the client, instead I would just be working for

another firm, Also I would not be taking any of my other employees at the

firm. From those three key words above however, I wanted to get an opinion if

I could legally get in trouble for accepting a new position at such firm.

Thank you.

Asked on March 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you write, they would not have grounds to sue you for taking the job. The law in this company is that an employee MAY compete with a former employer unless he/she specifically agreed to not do so; you did not agree to not compete, only to not "solicit, divert or appropriate," which you are not doing.
The only way, based on what you write, they may be able to sue you is you take and use any of their property or proprietary information (e.g. client list; confidential process or manufacturing information; etc.), since then you could be sued not for competition, but for misappropriating (basically stealing) their property.

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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