Q: Could using Twitter create an allegation of violation of a non-compete agreement in New York?
Today’s society is heavily entrenched in the worlds of technology and social media. In recent years, this has created a never-before-seen blending of our personal and professional lives. For example, if an employee uses Twitter both in his personal life and as part of his job, do the Twitter followers belong to the company? And does the former employee’s continued use of the account constitute a violation of his non-compete agreement if he leaves the company to work for a competitor? While we do not currently have clear answers to these questions, courts would likely abide by the following guidelines when assessing a New York non-compete claim:
- New York courts openly dislike non-compete agreements.
- New York courts favor allowing former employees to use their skills to earn a living and to change jobs freely.
- New York courts will enforce a non-compete in order to keep a level playing field in the business area.
- If the use of social media creates unfair competition or tortious interference by poaching customers or employees, it could potentially lead to a non-compete violation claim.
It is therefore possible that the use of social media could generate a non-compete violation claim in the future. Former employees should be very careful with how they conduct themselves once leaving an employer to work for a competitor, especially if their former employment agreement contained a non-compete clause. To learn more, contact an experienced New York business litigation lawyer today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.