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Why social media guidelines should be a part of any non-disclosure agreement, non-compete clause, or other employment agreement.
Using LinkedIn®, a former employee starts contacting your clients and stealing your business. You’re pretty confident you have solid legal recourse. After all, he did sign an employment agreement including non-disclosure, non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality clauses.
Seems like an open-and-shut case, right? Perhaps. The courts are still in the early stages of defining what online activity constitutes individual freedom and what violates agreements set forth by a previous employer. In the digital age, there’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to the interplay between social media and restrictive covenants (non-disclosure agreements, non-compete clauses, and non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions), trade secrets and the duty of loyalty.
One thing is certain, though. If your company hasn’t updated its non-disclosure agreement, non-compete clause, or other employment agreement to address post-employment internet activity and establish social media guidelines, you’re behind the times — and it could very well cost you. Even if you are seemingly up to speed, it’s important to consider whether your agreement includes language that courts have accepted or language that courts are likely to invalidate as overbearing — as several big-name companies have recently discovered the hard way.
Is your business prepared for social media sabotage? Dean Mead’s Employment Law Team and Business Litigators routinely successfully represent employers, businesses, employees, and independent contractors in all aspects of the relationship governed by non-disclosure agreements, non-compete clauses and other employment agreements, including ensuring such contracts adequately address social media guidelines. Our team is available to assist you with the rapidly evolving intersection between business and social media and other emerging platforms further complicating the age-old legal precedent.
About the Authors:
Melanie Griffin practices in Dean Mead’s Litigation department. She primarily advises and represents businesses of all sizes and types in commercial disputes and litigation, ranging from simple breach of contract actions to complex commercial cases involving intellectual property issues, real estate actions, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, tortious interference with contracts and business relationships, and substantive employment law issues such as harassment, discrimination and retaliation. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nichole Mooney is an employment law attorney in Dean Mead’s Litigation department. She assists clients with drafting employment and severance contracts, drafting handbooks and policies, and counseling and representing employers in litigation regarding all types of employee actions, rights and obligations, including, but not limited to, wage and hour questions and disputes, FMLA issues, claims of discrimination, retaliation, theft of trade secrets, and all other manner of employment related litigation under Florida and federal law. Ms. Mooney also addresses claims regarding restrictive covenants including non-compete agreements, trade secrets litigation and protection of confidential information. She may be reached at email@example.com.