My former company is threatening legal action for me starting up a competing company, and formally incorporating a week before I left. Can they?

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My former company is threatening legal action for me starting up a competing company, and formally incorporating a week before I left. Can they?

Email: ..we found an original receipt from the City of Beaverton for a HOME OCCUPANCY PERMIT dated June 12, 2009 signed by you at 1:53PM. That was a Friday, Ted, and occurred at a time when you were on the clock and paid for that time by Meyer Sign Co. / Martin Bros. In addition, you were paid for another four days of work subsequent to obtaining that permit. During that time you were supposed to be working for Meyer Sign Co. / Martin Bros. but were in competition with us as your business is described in your hand-writing as “SIGNAGE / PRINT MEDIA SERVICES.”

Asked on July 3, 2009 under Business Law, Oregon

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Ted, I think you need a lawyer, and you need one right now.

If the email is right, that you paid for a permit for use in your own business, while you were "on the clock" for your former employer, you can be sued.  It's quite possible that you'll have to give back that last week's pay, and perhaps more, to take care of this.  You need an attorney to know just how hard you could get hit at trial, if it comes to that, who can negotiate the best possible deal for you.


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