How do we stop an ex-employee from using company info to steal clients?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do we stop an ex-employee from using company info to steal clients?

A long time employee 25 years purchased a carpet cleaning business while employed for our carpet cleaning business. He was required to sign a non-solicitation agreement to continue working for us, which he refused. citing it ‘

Asked on July 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have a signed non-competition, non-solicitation, and/or non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement (the latter to protect business information, such as the names of your clients or your pricing to them), you most likely cannot do anything. Free competition is the law of this country unless restricted by contract: when there is no contractual limitation, people, including former employees, can compete with you, solicit your clients, etc. And information not protected as confidential can generally be used by those given access to it. Legal action  is not likely to work in this case; you may need to simply out-compete him.

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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