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How can former employer find out about who my new employer is ?

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  • Jun 25th, 2012 12:43 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 17, 2009
100 posts
5 upvotes

How can former employer find out about who my new employer is ?

I have a non compete clause in my current employment. I have managed to find a new job but they are actually competitors.

I am planning to keep it secret from my soon to be ex colleagues.

How can former employer find out about who my new employer is ?
14 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 7, 2009
13833 posts
1337 upvotes
A lot of non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable. My understanding is that you cannot divulge trade secrets or simultaneously work for two competing companies due to a legal conflict of interest, but the law recognizes the rights of a person to find whatever non-concurrent employment they want, over and above the stipulations in any non-compete clause you've signed.

Basically, as long as you make a clean break from your former company you can legally work for whomever you want.

If someone has a better legal interpretation, please feel free to correct me.
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 17, 2009
100 posts
5 upvotes
Thanks for the quick reply..

In my case the it might be legally enforceable due to the nature of my skills and my duties in the new company.

I am looking at ways they can find out so that i can make a decision to move or not.

Syne wrote: A lot of non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable. My understanding is that you cannot divulge trade secrets or simultaneously work for two competing companies due to a legal conflict of interest, but the law recognizes the rights of a person to find whatever non-concurrent employment they want, over and above the stipulations in any non-compete clause you've signed.

Basically, as long as you make a clean break from your former company you can legally work for whomever you want.

If someone has a better legal interpretation, please feel free to correct me.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2010
2764 posts
178 upvotes
Syne wrote: A lot of non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable. My understanding is that you cannot divulge trade secrets or simultaneously work for two competing companies due to a legal conflict of interest, but the law recognizes the rights of a person to find whatever non-concurrent employment they want, over and above the stipulations in any non-compete clause you've signed.

Basically, as long as you make a clean break from your former company you can legally work for whomever you want.

If someone has a better legal interpretation, please feel free to correct me.
+1.

People jump ship to competitors all the time. Microsoft to Google. Oracle to SAP. TD to RBC etc.

All depends on the clean break and if you decide to divulge secrets etc. is what can get you into trouble. Otherwise no issues.
Member
Oct 13, 2003
240 posts
11 upvotes
Syne wrote: A lot of non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable. My understanding is that you cannot divulge trade secrets or simultaneously work for two competing companies due to a legal conflict of interest, but the law recognizes the rights of a person to find whatever non-concurrent employment they want, over and above the stipulations in any non-compete clause you've signed.

Basically, as long as you make a clean break from your former company you can legally work for whomever you want.

If someone has a better legal interpretation, please feel free to correct me.
You can ask them to pay you your normal wage/salary during the non-compete period or threaten a lawsuit? It would have been preferable to have that in the contract to begin with.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 1, 2006
3370 posts
343 upvotes
Brisbane
Syne wrote: A lot of non-compete clauses are not legally enforceable. My understanding is that you cannot divulge trade secrets or simultaneously work for two competing companies due to a legal conflict of interest, but the law recognizes the rights of a person to find whatever non-concurrent employment they want, over and above the stipulations in any non-compete clause you've signed.

Basically, as long as you make a clean break from your former company you can legally work for whomever you want.

If someone has a better legal interpretation, please feel free to correct me.
My law instructor in University said basically this. It's been difficult for employers to prove in court that they suffered damages. Usually market forces are good and therefore penalizing workers for moving between competitors would be bad.
Deal Addict
Jun 29, 2009
2307 posts
211 upvotes
Toronto
kevin_405 wrote: I have a non compete clause in my current employment. I have managed to find a new job but they are actually competitors.

I am planning to keep it secret from my soon to be ex colleagues.

How can former employer find out about who my new employer is ?
Non-compete clause is standard and usually not enforceable (nor do employers bother to pursue it), unless of course you solicit clients, colleagues and/or share trade secrets or anything like that.
Best is to speak to legal department, HR and manager of your new prospective employer.
Sr. Member
Jul 5, 2006
811 posts
65 upvotes
well, it's not like many places keep track of where you currently work, aside from the government. and most places that do are bound by privacy laws not to just give that info out. on the other hand...
do you have any mutual friends as other people in your company? will you update your linkedin page? is your facebook status public? will you be contacting shared customers, going to the same industry conferences? there's a lot of easy ways to find out where you've gone off to.

the more direct way though, is that they could simply hire private investigators to follow you. shouldn't take them more than a few hours work to figure out where you are going off to work each day, they already got your address and stuff. it really just comes down to how much you think your employer is going to care.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Feb 17, 2009
100 posts
5 upvotes
Thanks for the response guys..

I guess other than PI or grapevine there is no other way
i dont think the company will go to that extent of getting a PI and grapevine is controllable by not spreading info.*
Deal Addict
Jun 29, 2009
2307 posts
211 upvotes
Toronto
kevin_405 wrote: Thanks for the response guys..

I guess other than PI or grapevine there is no other way
i dont think the company will go to that extent of getting a PI and grapevine is controllable by not spreading info.*
OP, the key is that whether you have any ill intention once you join your new employer such as soliciting clients or giving out some trade secrets. It's as simple as that.
Deal Addict
Jun 4, 2006
2069 posts
50 upvotes
It totally depends on the original contract and agreement you signed. You should have had a lawyer look it over at the time. If it is a bad clause or contract you are screwed.
Also, just so people know it is not the individual some firms sue but your new employer. So I hope you divulged to your new employer the basis of your non-compete.
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
1763 posts
363 upvotes
Unless the company could be considered to be harmed they can't sue. It's damages that they can get.

If you're the CFO or president and have strategic insight then non-competes can be enforced. But if you're just an analyst, manager etc. you're in the clear. So long as you don't solicit clients/take lists/intellectual property....
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2006
1434 posts
123 upvotes
Midtown Toronto
Just assume that they will find out where you are working and what your role is. If you think that they have a bona fide legal basis for coming after you, that's bad. If there's any queasiness on your part of whether the move is kosher, I think you need to speak to legal to get as clear of an answer as you can get.

Also, If you think that even if they don't have a basis to sue but that they'll be angry about it, then think about the impact on your reputation and decide if hiding the move is the best course of action.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 31, 2005
3352 posts
294 upvotes
Calgary
Unless you live under a rock. And never go out. And never facebook. Or linkedIn. Or send an email ever to anyone in your industry. Assume they will know if they actually want to. If you are in a massive market then maybe you can hide for a bit, but don't count on it.

In the end, NC clauses are enforceable as long as it doesn't prevent you from earning a living. It just comes down to how much they want to take action. I've seen some where the former company touches base with the new company and suddenly both are aware that you've made a shady move. Next thing one lets you go and the other won't re-hire you. Effectively black-balling you.

Be careful what you assume will/won't happen. If you are trying to hide your new employer from your current one, you already know you're potentially in violation of your 'agreement'. Regardless of whatever legal actions they may/may not take, consider that something way less formal could be what takes you out of the game.

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