As a business owner, you need to take as many precautions as possible to protect your business secrets. This is because some mischievous employees may decide to steal these business secrets and pass them off as theirs when they leave your company. To protect their business secrets, you’d commonly see other large and small businesses create a non-compete agreement for employees. However, some employees still violate this agreement, causing serious harm to the business. On this page you will learn what a non-compete agreement is and how a CSI Secure Solutions private investigator can help your business in the case of a violation.
What Is a Non-Compete Agreement?
A non-compete agreement is a legal document that contains an agreement between a business owner and their staff that protects the business. A non-compete agreement can also be called a non-compete clause. This agreement prohibits the staff from taking business secrets and using them as their own. Also, it stops staff from sharing confidential information about the business with other individuals or businesses. Furthermore, it stops the staff from taking advantage of the business’ customers for their own gain.
Now, if a former staff member who left your company immediately started working with a competitor, you’re well within your rights to be concerned. How can you be sure that they’re not sharing your business secrets with their new company? Or they’re not trying to talk to your customers and get them to patronize their new company? Thus, it is necessary for you to have your staff sign a non-compete clause while they still work for you. However, despite signing a non-compete agreement, many staff still go against this agreement. The worst part is that this violation may become hard to prove in a court of law especially where the staff is crafty.
Now, and contingent upon what your local state laws specify the court will consider certain factors before they can take up your non-compete case. First, the agreement must be one that protects a real business secret and goodwill. Secondly, the agreement must have a reasonable time frame, for example, one year. Thirdly, the agreement must be defined by the business’ location. Fourthly, the business and the competitor must have similar interests and customer bases. Lastly, if the staff had a change in duties, he or she should have signed a new non-compete clause.
What Do You Do When a Former Staff Starts Working with A Competitor?
As already mentioned, the fact that you make your staff sign a non-compete clause does not mean they will not go against the rules. What you should do is constantly remind your staff of what they agreed to and swing into action immediately if any staff breaches their contract. Also, you should take legal action as soon as you have enough evidence to back up a breach.
Steps you should take:
1. Think Deeply About the Situation
When you hear that your former staff has started working with a rival, it is understandable that you may want to act swiftly. However, as already stated, the court will consider certain factors first before hearing your case. So, what should you do? First, find out if the staff’s new job role or new business is one where they can use your business secrets and trusted information. Secondly, find out if your business and theirs serve the same clients. Lastly, find out if their job activities are a breach of your non-compete clause. Remember, if you don’t have solid evidence, you may not be able to prove your case in court.
2. Contact Your Lawyer
When you’re sure that your former staff could be using your business secrets for a new business or talking to your clients, then call your lawyer. You can also call your lawyer if your current staff is going against the rules in your clause. Explain the situation to your lawyer, giving them specific details on what you suspect. Your lawyer will then draft and send them a cease-and-desist letter. This letter will warn them to stop whatever breach they’re causing or face the law. Usually, a cease-and-desist letter should put the former employee in check. However, some staff will continue to breach the non-compete clause, although they usually become more careful. When this happens, it might become hard for you to prove the breach, leading to frustration.
3. Hire A CSI Secure Solutions Investigator
Now, when you serve an employee a cease-and-desist letter, they may continue their breach in secret. While this harms your business, it may be hard for you to prove what they’re doing since they’re being coy about their activity. What do you do in a case like this? Hire a CSI professional private investigator that has experience in these cases. The services that CSI provides include carrying out surveillance operations to see if in fact that employee is working for a direct competitor and speaking with your clients,
background check that includes social media activity engaged with their new employer, getting information from eyewitnesses, going through files, etc. Our investigative team will help you gather enough evidence to build a case against the former employee who is in violation of your non-compete agreement.
Where the former employee is being extra smart, our investigators will uncover the information that he is trying to hide from his former employer. Usually, when businesses try to build a case against the former employee, they can claim that the business is harassing them. However, using a CSI private investigator, a third party, will allow the court to rule out any such claim of harassment.
4. Step Back and Watch
After hiring our CSI Secure Solutions investigators let us do our job. Do not try to get in the middle of the investigation . When clients interfere in their own case, they may unintentionally reveal their identity especially if the investigator are working in an undercover capacity. Also, be willing to co-operate with them even if whatever information they ask for seems inconsequential. Remember, you don’t want any staff claiming that you’re harassing them. So, step back and watch the seasoned and professional CSI Secure Solutions investigator do their job.
Getting the staff of your company to sign a non-compete clause is the smartest thing to do but some staff can still willingly go against this. Even when you have confirmed your suspicion of stealing business secrets, extra smart former employees can still claim as stated previously that you’re harassing them. Thus, hiring us a CSI Secure Solutions investigator is your best bet in solving non-compete violations.
CALL CSI SECURE SOLUTIONS TODAY IF YOU SUSPECT AN EMPLOYEE HAS VIOLATED YOUR COMPANY NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT.