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Noncompete agreements and trade secrets — Pennsylvania

Sometimes an employer’s greatest legal concerns do not arise until after an employee has left the company. Unfortunately, it may be too late at that point for the employer to protect its interests adequately.

In the absence of a noncompete agreement in an employment agreement, commonly referred to as a restrictive covenant, a company’s former employees generally are free:

  • to work for a competitor immediately
  • to solicit their former employer's customers and employees
  • to use or disclose confidential information that does not rise to the level of a trade secret.

This relative freedom can result in great harm to the previous employer, particularly in instances where the former employee had particularly strong relationships with customers, vendors, or other employees, or where the former employee had access to significant and potentially damaging business information. In short, unless a company requires that its employees execute a legally enforceable restrictive covenant, there may be no way to prevent former employees from putting the training and knowledge their prior employer provided them to work for a direct competitor.

Noncompete agreements and...

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