Minnesota based TEKsystems Inc. sued three former employees for violating non-compete and non-solicit agreements. TEKSystems is in the technical recruiting business and it claims one of the former employees was contacting its contract employees. The complaint alleges Defendant Brelyn Hammernik used LinkedIn to solicit these employees:
For example, Hammernik has communicated with at least 20 of TEKsystems’ Contract Employees using such electronic networking systems as “Linkedin.” Hammernik has, at a minimum, “connected” with the following TEKsystems’ employees through “Linkedin" . . . In her contacts with Tom Peterson, Hammernick asked Peterson if he was “still looking for opportunities.” She then stated that she “would love to have [you] come visit my new office and hear about some of the stuff we are working on.”
Evidence doesn’t get much better then this LinkedIn email:
Tom Peterson has sent you a message.
Subject: RE: Brelyn
Indeed I am still looking. I have time, though!
Lets get together. Where are you working these days? Your profile still has you working at TEK Systems. BTW – my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would prefer the non-Linkedln route.
On 12/08/09 8:47 AM, Brelyn Hammernik wrote:
Hey! Let me know if you are still looking for opportunities! I would love to have come visit my new office and hear about some of the stuff we are working on!
Let me know your thoughts!
Needless to say it will be very difficult for Hammernik to defend this type of conduct. I’ve used emails in non-compete/non-solicit cases but never LinkedIn evidence. As individuals migrate from company to company they routinely use LinkedIn and other social networking sites to update contacts on their whereabouts. Usually, most updates don’t contain an outright solicitation like this. The moral of this story: Employees – be smart about communications that are blatant solicitations. Employers – watch former employees social networking activities once they have departed.