FTC Beat
Posts Tagged ‘Non compete agreement’
Nov 07
2013

New Job? Think Twice Before Announcing it via Social Media

A lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court recently raised the issue of whether a former employee’s LinkedIn post announcing a new job could violate an anti-solicitation clause of a non-compete contract with the former employer.

In KNF&T Inc. v. Muller, staffing company KNF&T filed suit against its former vice president, Charlotte Muller, for violating a non-compete contract in a number of ways, one of which was a LinkedIn update which notified Ms. Muller’s 500+ contacts of her new job.  Among those contacts were Ms. Muller’s former clients at KNF&T.  KNF&T filed suit alleging that the update notification violated her one year non-compete contract by soliciting business from current KNF&T clients.

The court issued a narrow ruling stating that the posting did not violate the non-compete agreement because Ms. Muller’s new position in information technology recruiting did not directly compete with KNF&T’s work in recruiting administrative support specialists.

Since the court was able to resolve the case based on a differentiation in practice areas, it did not have to resolve the issue of whether a LinkedIn notification could violate the terms of a non-competition agreement.  Such a determination will always depend of the particular facts of the case, such as whether the new position directly competes with the former employer, whether the individual is connected with former clients on LinkedIn, and the content of the notification.

Employees subject to a non-competition agreement should exercise caution when using social media to announce a new position.  If they do make an announcement, they should consult the terms of their non-compete agreement to determine what could constitute a violation.  For instance, if the non-compete only prohibits solicitation of the former employer’s current clients, the employee should be sure to exclude any such clients from the notification by selecting which groups receive the message.  The time spent paring down the list of recipients is well worth avoiding a potential lawsuit.

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About Ifrah Law

FTC Beat is authored by the Ifrah Law Firm, a Washington DC-based law firm specializing in the defense of government investigations and litigation. Our client base spans many regulated industries, particularly e-business, e-commerce, government contracts, gaming and healthcare.

Ifrah Law focuses on federal criminal defense, government contract defense and procurement, health care, and financial services litigation and fraud defense. Further, the firm's E-Commerce attorneys and internet marketing attorneys are leaders in internet advertising, data privacy, online fraud and abuse law, iGaming law.

The commentary and cases included in this blog are contributed by founding partner Jeff Ifrah, partners Michelle Cohen and George Calhoun, counsels Jeff Hamlin and Drew Barnholtz, and associates Rachel Hirsch, Nicole Kardell, Steven Eichorn, David Yellin, and Jessica Feil. These posts are edited by Jeff Ifrah. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!

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