For companies operating in competitive industries, the departure of an employee who has inside knowledge of the firm’s strategies and processes, or who maintains valuable relationships with customers and prospects, tends to trigger anxiety and concern. This concern intensifies upon learning that the employee has joined a competitor. In many cases, the rights and responsibilities of the company and the departing employee are spelled out clearly in an employment contract or in a stand-alone non-compete, non-solicit or confidentiality agreement.
However, what if a search through the departing employee’s file reveals no written restrictive covenants? Can the company do anything to stop the employee from working for the competitor?