Courts are increasingly asked to examine the scope and enforceability of non-solicitation agreements in the age of social networking. With employees using LinkedIn and other websites to stay in touch with current and former colleagues, a recent Illinois appellate court decision helps shed some light on the types of communications that may or may not constitute a breach of a valid non-solicitation agreement.
In a sobering reminder that online social media is changing the way the world does business, a federal court recently shot down an employer's trade secret claim based largely upon the availability of information via the internet. Does this mean that employers seeking trade secret status for customer lists and related information should throw up their hands and surrender? No. This case presents a textbook example of what not to do if an employer regards its client information as confidential.
Does your confidentiality and nonsolicitation agreement preclude departing employees from contacting your clients via LinkedIn and other social media? A little clarification can go a long way.
Businesses that lack a social networking policy or don't train their employees on the do’s and don’ts of social networking may have a critical security gap in the protection of their trade secrets, and may be exposing themselves to harassment, hostile work environment, defamation and numerous other legal claims.