Can an employer make you pay for a client list when the clients didnt sign a contract?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer make you pay for a client list when the clients didnt sign a contract?

I worked for a cleaning business and
the business was somewhat failing. So
the owner told me to park the business
car in her driveway and figure out what
I want to with the clients. I told that
as she was giving up the business. So I
told clients to call me and I will
clean on my own with my own car. I did
sign a non compete contract but the
clients never signed anything. Are the
clients free to have me come clean for
them still.

Asked on November 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The *clients*  can contact you and if they do, you can work for them, since you did not sign a noncompetition agreement. But you can't call the clients initially, because you only had the clients' name and contact information as part of your job, to use for the sole benefit of your employer (i.e. not your personal benefit). The law does not allow you to use or take the employer's information, such as a client list, and use it for your benefit. So if you reached out to the clients, then potentially she could sue you, but if the clients reached out to you, you are fine.

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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