The following is a guest post by Andrew Bosin, a New Jersey employment lawyer. If you have any questions about employment law, he is a great person to talk to.
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE A JOB MOVE BUT ARE STILL CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO YOUR PRESENT EMPLOYER. PERHAPS NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK TO AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER?
If you are presently bound by an employment agreement and speaking to a prospective new employer, you should stop and have an experienced employment attorney look at your agreement to make sure that your contact with the new company doesn’t violate any provisions in it. It is perfectly legal to go and look for another job. You just want to make sure you don’t wind up on the other end of lawsuit for doing so.
More, now than ever, employers are going to great lengths to protect their confidential proprietary information and competitive advantages in the marketplace. If your employer enjoys such an advantage because of a great product or by its market share, you can bet the farm it will not be happy to learn that you have been speaking to a competitor while at the same time obligated under your agreement with them. Employers think nothing of throwing out the “breach of contract” or “breach of duty” language at you when and if they find out what you have been doing.
Here are some of the things you want to avoid:
Violating Your Restrictive Covenant: Assume for purposes of this article that the covenant is legal and enforceable. If you take a job with a competitor you will get sued by your employer seeking to enforce the restrictive covenant. You bargained for and signed the agreement with the covenant going forward put in place to prevent you from working for a competitor.
Leaving Options or Deferred Comp on the Table: You need to make sure that your decision to leave your employer voluntarily doesn’t surrender your right to receive deferred compensation or stock options.
Likewise, if you quit, you need to know under the agreement whether you will receive the bonus you earned for working over a certain time period.
Taking Your Clients With You: There is a strong possibility that if you are leaving to go to a competitor that a court of law could prevent you from using contacts and connections you met at your present employer that it paid to get. Simply put, courts don’t like it if you obtained clients on your employer’s dime and then leave and take the clients to a competitor with you. With this said, you need to be very careful about the representations you make to a prospective new employer about the amount of business or clients you will be taking with you.
Andrew S. Bosin, LLC, Esq.
10 Wilsey Square, Suite 136
Ridgewood, NJ 07450 (201-446-9643)