Non-Solicitation Agreements

Last year we profiled the TEKSystems v. Hammernik case that was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.  The case was significant because it was one of the first where a Plaintiff seeking a temporary injunction used communications from social media (LinkedIn) as evidence of a non-solicit violation. 

                                                         

We have previously addressed rumblings that the Department of Justice was investigating agreements between companies where they agreed not to contact each other’s employees for hiring purposes. 

The companies involved were Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit and Pixar.  In the competitive impact statement, the DOJ outlined the nature of the agreements.  For example,

In Texas there are other options to prevent departing employers from competing with your business:

A Non-Solicitation: Instead of tying down your employee with a non-compete consider a non-solicitation. The non-solicit will still have to meet non-compete standards, but it can be used for specific customers as opposed to geographic areas. The rub, there will always

                                       

Typically, employers use non-compete clauses to prevent former employees from competing with them after they’ve provided them with trade secrets, customer information, or other proprietary information. Non-solicits can essentially have the same effect – by restricting or preventing a former employee from calling on or contacting former customers. Here is an example:

You hereby agree and

                                              

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’

With employers aggressively protecting customers and trade-secrets with non-compete agreements,  placement and human resource professionals will continue to encounter potential candidates/employees that have non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants.   

Every employment interview should include exploration into these issues. 

Below are some suggested questions/considerations:

  • Has the candidate signed a non-compete, non-solicitation, or non-disclosure agreement?  If so, request


Happy holidays to you and your family.

Below is a link to an article written by Seattle attorney Jill Pugh regarding a Nebraska Court of Appeals opinion affirming the enforceability of a non-solicitation agreement. Aon Consulting, Inc. sued to enforce the agreement against a former employee. The agreement was actually signed by the employee with