If I quit or am fired from my job can I take my customers and manufacturers with me?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I quit or am fired from my job can I take my customers and manufacturers with me?

I currently work for my father and have for 12 years. He is the owner of the brokerage company, he, myself and my mother work for. We are having a lot of problems personally and on the business side as well. If I quit or am fired can I legally call my customers and manufacturers and let them know I am starting my own company and take them with me?

Asked on August 17, 2011 Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have a non-competition or non-solicitation agreement, you clearly cannot do this--such agreements are enforceable.

If you don't have such an agreement, it's more of grey area. You can contact customers you have personally worked with (so ones you know and have had contact with) and tell them you are leaving and striking off on their own; you can even ask them if they'd like to go with you.

What you can't do is: 1) take any customer or business files with you--not even a copy you made for yourself; 2) use proprietary or confidential business information to court them--you can't say that your father's company is charging them $X for the services but  you'll only charge $Y if that is not fully public knowledge (e.g available on their website); and 3) you can't use information about the customers you have only from having worked at your father's to try to get them to go with you (e.g. you can't say, "I know that you have an aggressive risk tolerance, but my father is too conservative" since you'd only know about their risk profile from having worked at your father's brokerage).

Basically, just tell them you're leaving, that you're starting your own company, how to contact you, and invite them to reach out to you--that's what you can do.

Note that even if you only do what you can, your father may try to sue you anyway, hoping to scare you off, make you waste money, distract you, etc.--you have to be prepared that you may need to defend yourself. And if your profession or industry has any ethical guidelines for this situation, be sure to follow them, too.


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 with SHA-256 Encryption