My employer lost a contract to a competitor. The competitor signed a non-compete clause, which states that they will not hire any of us employees, subject to a $10000 per person if they do so anyway. Some of us would like to work for the new company. We don't have an employment contract and did not sign a non-compete form but our company told us that they will pursue legal action if we do go to work for the competitor. Can they do this? We thought that they can only pursue legal action against the competitor.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your employer can't bar you from working elsewhere, but there may be a problem if you divulge "trade secrets" that you obtained from your current employer to the competitor. These have been variously defined in cases litigated in this area of the law, but generally refer to things you learned about your employer's business that wouldn't be generally available to the competitor, and which would give the competitor an advantage.
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