Three steps to avoid a dispute over that Non Competition or Confidentiality Agreement
In today's marketplace, finding the right talent is essential to success, especially for startups as they take on new employees. Businesses and individuals run into trouble when the new hire moves from a direct or potential competitor and is bound by confidentiality or non-compete agreements.
Understand the AgreementsIndividuals should always compile all of their agreements at the earliest possible date (prior to the transition) and take the time necessary to understand your obligations. The most important agreements include, but are not limited to, the employment contract, the employee policy, and any confidentiality, non solicitation or non compete agreements that were signed. It is best practice for the company hiring away a valuable employee to require disclosure of those agreements before making an offer for employment.
Leave All Company PropertyThis may seem obvious but you would be surprised how often this is overlooked by both individuals and businesses. Sometimes it is not entirely clear which devices are company property and which are not. For this reason, the safest policy is to leave it behind if there is any room for doubt. If you don't, it may come back to haunt you. If you assume wrong, the former company will most likely claim that confidential, proprietary and/or trade secret information stored on the device was misappropriated by the former employee and his/her new employer upon departure. This rule obviously applies to any documents or other data developed or used by the previous employer. Again, the new company hiring an employee away should advise the new employee to leave all company property with their old employer. This can save a lot of trouble and expense down the road.
Tell the TruthEmployees owe their current employer a duty of loyalty while still employed. So, if your employer learns of your plans to leave prior to departure, avoid reacting defensively by denying those plans. The best approach is to give your employer as much notice as possible of your plans so they have time to plan for your departure. The less surprise involved in your decision to pursue the new opportunity the better.