While an executive is in your employ, you have leverage in employment contract disputes. However, after an executive has been separated, your business is still vulnerable to damage from breach of contract. Your only remedy may be a civil lawsuit. If a former employee has violated a restrictive covenant and your company loses business as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit under California’s Unfair Competition Law for injunctive relief and monetary damages. The attorneys at Garcia & Gurney, A Law Corporation can review your case, determine whether you have a valid claim and advise you on how to proceed.
Your intellectual property, client lists, methods of running your business and other information you rely on are your trade secrets. In California, non-compete agreements are unlawful except in limited circumstances, but most companies require employees to sign a nondisclosure agreement. If you’ve protected your business through a nondisclosure agreement, that contract clause that bars the employee from revealing company trade secrets to competitors is still in effect for a period of time after severance.
If an employee violates a nondisclosure agreement and engages in unfair business practices, Garcia & Gurney, A Law Corporation can help you file a Section 17200 claim against the former employee under the California Unfair Competition Law. You may be able to obtain a court order demanding the former employee stop all unfair practices and even receive monetary damages for the harm to your business.
For you to take legal action against a former employee you allege took your client list, you must show that the list was a trade secret. A client list may be deemed a trade secret if you invested a lot of time and effort in creating the list and in keeping it confidential. You must also show that the former employee is guilty of misappropriating your trade secret by establishing that he or she approached or petitioned clients on your list.
Garcia & Gurney, A Law Corporation offers comprehensive employment law support to employers in Pleasanton and other Tri-Valley cities. For help with a labor and employment issue or other business law matter in and around Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, contact us today by phone at 925-468-0400 or online.