Monday, December 03, 2012

What to do when you are threatened with a non-compete lawsuit.

I recently had two successful outcomes in a non-compete cases on behalf of employees either being sued or threatened with being sued. It got me to thinking what are the ways my clients should prepare for the first meeting with a lawyer in these circumstances. Here are my thoughts:

1. If you are served with legal papers call a lawyer immediately. Employers often ask the Court to grant immediate emergency relief in these cases. Time is of the essence. Bring the Court papers with you. Record the date you are served.  Bring the cease and desist letter if you received one.

2. Bring a copy of the non-compete agreement to your first meeting with a lawyer.

3. Bring copies of your job descriptions at your old job and your new job or be prepared to describe your job duties in detail. An employee's best defense is often that he or she is not the type of employee who can be covered by a non-compete agreement.

4. Did you advise your new employer in writing that you signed a non-compete with your previous employer? If yes, bring a copy of the document that proves this fact. If no, consult a lawyer.

5. Gather other relevant documents presented in an organized fashion, including:
  • Evidence of affirmative claims you have against your former employer. Are you owed wages? Were you mistreated? Employees often can use their own claims to leverage their ways out of a non-compete agreement;
  • Documents you believe your old employer might claim as evidence of your breach.
  • Contact information for your new employer and any potential witnesses.

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