We Protect You from Accusations of Employee Raiding

Defending and protecting companies from tortious interference or unfair business practice claims

Employee raiding is a temptation for many companies. Quality competitors prosper by having good employees. It can be less expensive and time consuming to simply entice workers from another company to come to work for you. There are risks, though, which you should be aware of before you attempt to augment your workforce with another company’s employees.

At Gertsburg Licata, our labor attorneys help businesses grow in a legal and ethical way. We understand that even a whiff of impropriety can lead to a claim of corporate raiding – and that a reputation lost is often harder to fix than having no reputation at all. We provide practical counsel to help keep you in compliance, and aggressive, creative solutions for businesses who are losing their own workers to unscrupulous competitors.

Tortious interference and employee raiding

Tortious interference arises when an individual or company intentionally damages another’s contractual relationships. Employers who raid the employees of another may be liable for tortious interference if:

  • There is an existing contract between the employer and the worker. There is often a written contract between employers and important personnel, such as officers, executives, and managers. Many employment relations, aside from collective bargaining agreements, are based on oral or implied contracts.
  • There is a non-compete agreement. In most states, employee non-compete agreements are enforceable. A non-compete contract is an agreement by the worker to refrain from any competition with a former employer. Non-compete agreements can be attacked on the grounds that they limit a former employee’s ability to earn a living. Most non-compete agreements must be limited to a short term, such as a year, and the agreement not to compete generally should only apply to a limited geographical area.
  • There is a non-disclosure agreement. These agreements prohibit a former employee from disclosing trade secrets to a new employer, normally for a longer period, such as five years. Employees who break the agreement can be sued for damages by the former employer. The employer who enticed the former employer to leave and to disclose the trade secrets may be sued for tortious interference.

Ohio and other states have laws regarding unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. These laws protect employers from unfair competition, which can include trademark infringement, defamation, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Tortious interference can be unfair competition. The key is in understanding what qualifies as unfair competition. At Gertsburg Licata, we understand the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices law. Our lawyers can prove that your actions complied with state and federal law, and that employee raiding did not occur.

Strategies for employees who want to acquire talent from competitors

The best talent helps make the best companies, and we understand why you would want that talent on your team. Our Cleveland labor law attorneys help companies plan by:

  • Reading any agreements the prospective employee has with his/her prior employer. All contracts, employee handbooks, stock participation agreements, and other plans should be examined for any type of restrictive covenant.
  • Analyzing whether the restrictive covenant is enforceable. Covenants that are too broad, too ambiguous, or unconscionable may not be valid.
  • Conducting a conflict analysis. Contracts that are enforceable in one state may not be enforceable in another.

If an employee is near the end of his or her work contract, it may pay to wait until the contract term ends.

Don’t fear accusations of raiding or poaching, let us help

At Gertsburg Licata, we understand how much difference the right employee or set of employees can make to your business. Our aim is to help you acquire talent legally and to minimize the risk of a lawsuit. If employees do bring claims, our proactive counsel can often lead to a dismissal of the complaint, a settlement, or a favorable verdict. To work with an experienced labor law attorney in Cleveland, please contact us at 216-573-6000 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.