Can my employer sue me for starting a competing business?

UPDATED: Jul 7, 2011

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Can my employer sue me for starting a competing business?

Currently I work for a company like that sells various items on the internet. I want to start my own company since I now know how the business works. I have many improvements I wantto  implement into my website that are not on my current employer’s website. I was wondering if I could be sued by my employer in anyway for starting my own website. Obviously, I would want to avoid this in anyway possible and would appreciate any help.

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There are a few things that you have not said here.  Like first if you are going to be selling the same items on the internet.  And if you are going to target their customers. But really it depends on if you have signed a non-compete agreement and what that agreement says.  If there is no non-compete agreement then I would worry that any thing that you have learned could be termed as a trade secret that was stolen from your employer.  I think that it would be a good idea for yo to sit down with a business consultant (an attorney could be one too) and discuss with him or her a business plan and how to implement it in your favor.  If there are no legal restrictions then you are good to go.  Good luck. 

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