If I want to quit my job and devote full-time to my own businessbut itcould be seen as a direct competitor, how should I quit so I don’t get sued?

UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I want to quit my job and devote full-time to my own businessbut itcould be seen as a direct competitor, how should I quit so I don’t get sued?

I currently manage the internet division of a company many divisions. On my own time, I’ve been working on my own project that is similar to the ebusiness and now want to quit and dedicate my full attention to my own business. I haven’t sold anything through my own site yet, and I definitely wouldn’t take any customer lists away from my current business. Additionally, the last year has shown solid increases in sales each month, so I obviously haven’t been sabotaging anything. I don’t want the owner to sue me down the road. What is the best way to go about quitting so that I cover my ass?

Asked on February 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you did not sign a noncompetition agreement, do not solicit customers of your current employer, and do not use any proprietary information of the employer (for example, customer lists; the pricing they have negotiated with vendors), then you should not be doing anything wrong, illegal, or impermissible.

That does not, unfortunately, mean that the employer may not try to sue you, if they either believe in good faith that you stole/took/used proprietary information, or simply want to try to "punish" you or damage a competitor. What it does mean is that if you have done nothing wrong, you will have a good chance of defeating, and possibly at a very early stage, any claim or suit by them. I personally was sued twice by a former employer--since I had done nothing wrong, I easily defeated both suits, but our legal system makes it very easy to at least initiate a lawsuit.

You should resign as soon as reasonably feasible, so as to create as much of a time gap or separation between leaving and starting your new endeavor--the more time, the better things will look. Be very careful to not approach the customers, vendors, employees, etc. of your current employer. Make sure  you do not take any information of theirs, and return all work material promptly, in a way you can document it. And budget some money for a legal defense, at need.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption