Can I form a start up while being employedif my employer has not made me sign an NDA?

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Can I form a start up while being employedif my employer has not made me sign an NDA?

My employer hasn’t made me sign an NDA and I want to create a start up on the side (start up industry is unrelated to the main focus of my start up). If there are a few things that I learned in my job that I would apply to my start up (likewise there are a more things that I would apply to my job from my start up) is it possible that my employer could sue for ownership of my company and win if they found out?

Asked on February 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you use proprietory or confidential business information, even in the absence of a signed NDA, the employer may be able to sue you; you are not allowed to use non-public information which was given to you only to do your job for your own benefit.  This includes items such as customer lists, vendors, pricing, proprietary techniques, etc. but does not include general know how or experience in the field.

If you do use proprietary or confidential information, the employer could seek monetary compensation and/or a court order barring you from doing whatever it is that is using the employer's information.


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