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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I was a 1099 employee who ran a Property Management Division.

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I was a 1099 employee who ran a Property Management Division. After failing to come to an agreement to buy the division, I was let go. I have now started my own company. I was offered two months severance package as long as I signed a termination agreement (see the clause I am referring to below). If I sign this termination agreement, can I solicite my old clients? Some of which I now have friendships outside of my work. Can I call them and let them know about my new Property Management company I have started? If I can't call them now is there a time limit as to when I may start calling them? What if I choose not to to sign the termination papers, then can I go after my old clients legally. Please let me know my rights.

Thank you


Clause:
"Proprietary Information; Return of Property. In the course of his employment, Smith has had access to confidential records, financial information, and other proprietary data and information of Company (collectively, "Confidential Information"). Such Confidential Information is considered secret and was disclosed to Smith in confidence. Smith agrees that he will not, directly or indirectly, copy, disclose, use, communicate to others, or otherwise disseminate any of the Confidential Information to any person or entity at any time or for any purpose whatsoever. Within five days after the Termination Date, Smith shall return to Company all Confidential Information in documentary or other tangible form in his possession and delete all Confidential Information from personal computer files and data bases."
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

The information that is being referenced by your employer is 'trade secrets' which is proprietary information that the company uses in the course of business.

It is a grey area as to what exactly constitutes trade secrets and what does not. Since the agreement doesn't prohibit you from doing so, you could solicit current clients, and infrom them that you have started a new property management company.

You would only have to return or destory any 'client lists' that you might have to contact the company's current clients and attempt to solicit business.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You would only have to return or destory any 'client lists' that you might have to contact the company's current clients and attempt to solicit business.


 


If I destroyed a "client list" list than how can I contact them or explain how I was able to reach them?

Since the agreement doesn't prohibit it, any lists that you've made during the course of employment for contact purpsoes, you could still keep, but client lists that you obtained from the company would have to be destroyed per the terms of your seperation and severance agreement.

Still, it is very difficult and expensive for companies to enforce 'trade secret' protections, so even if you were to keep the client lists and contact clients from them, it would be difficult for the company to enforce 'trade secret' law against you.
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