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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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