WARNING: Your Employees May Become Your Competitors
Employers who fail to plan properly will find out that former employees can quickly become their direct competitors. Unless you have in place “non-competition/non-solicitation agreements”, your ex-employees will be free to poach your customers or clients – and you will be powerless to prevent it.
Take the case of Allan M. Dworkin, D.D.S. v. Blumenthal, 77 Md. App. 774 (1989):
A dentist hires a young dentist to work for him at his practice. The young dentist leaves and takes the clients he has treated with him, immediately opening his own practice using a contact list he created with his old employer’s records while still employed there. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that nothing in the law prevents this sort of behavior absent a written agreement between the employer and employee. This is a clear sign to employers that they need to be proactive if they hope to protect their client base when an employee eventually leaves. Non-competitive employment agreements can protect you where the law won’t.
Weiss LLP has decades of experience drafting and reviewing contracts with this type of language in order to protect small businesses. Please contact us if you have an issue regarding small business employment law that you would like to discuss.