James Flynn, a Member of the Firm in the Litigation and Labor and Employment practices in the Newark office, was interviewed for an article about employees violating their non-compete agreements by using social networking sites.
The article discussed a recent lawsuit involving claims that a former employee’s use of social networking site LinkedIn violated a restrictive covenant agreement with a former employer. The article mentions that this is a cautionary tale for employers drafting restrictive covenants in the digital age.
Flynn stated that employers often hire new staff on the basis of their existing business connections, and it seems only natural for those employees to continue to update their personal LinkedIn accounts while at the company.
“Social media is the way people communicate now to a large extent, and, frankly, a lot of employers encourage employees to do all they can to increase the spread of their social network to help them develop business,” Flynn stated. Communication on LinkedIn and other social networks should be addressed by employers, said Flynn. That is because communication through such media does not happen in a direct line but instead offers multiple points of entry and multiple points of contact, said Flynn. This web-like structure allows former employees to connect with past clients through any number of avenues, and express policies can help employers overcome claims that the nature of these networks provides any defense against claims that they hijacked confidential business information, Flynn continued.