Is it illegal for me to use the contacts that I obtained while working for my previous employer and to attempt to contact previous clients and sell to them?

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Is it illegal for me to use the contacts that I obtained while working for my previous employer and to attempt to contact previous clients and sell to them?

My previous boss seems to think so. I was working for the company selling wood products but was let go. I am now working for a new company selling similar products.

Asked on August 27, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If by contacting your former employer's clients, you are inducing breach of an existing contract or interfering with a contract or are violating a non-competitive agreement with your former employer or are engaging in unfair competition by making disparaging comments about your former employer, you could be sued by your former employer.

If you are merely contacting the former clients to let them know that you are now employed by another company, that would be acceptable unless it violates the provisions of a non-competitive agreement with your former employer.

If there is an existing non-competitive agreement between you and your former employer, it must be reasonable as to length of time,  geographic proximity, etc.  If it is overbroad, it can be modified by a court.

 


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