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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 28456
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
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I live and work in Kansas. I just recently left my job and

Customer Question

Hi- I live and work in Kansas. I just recently left my job and started working for a competitor. I gave the 2 week notice and honored it. my last morning there, the office manager came to my office to tell me they were letting me leave early. She had me follow her to her office where she explained what happens with my insurance and paychecks. Then she had me sign a confidentiality agreement, and then immediately escorted me to my office to collect my things and then escorted me out of the building.
Yesterday I received this email:
"In going through documents and email, we have discovered violation in the confidentiality agreement you signed specifically, the forwarding of Bid opportunity’s from the computer which is owned as well as all documents and emails, which is described in the agreement as” Work Product of Kansas Builders Supply”.
This notice is to inform you we fully intend to exercise our right under this agreement."
I admit to using poor judgement in sending items to my personal email for me to use as reference material after leaving. But i have not, nor do I intend to share or distribute this information with anyone. The only confidentiality agreement I've ever signed there was literally done minutes before being removed from the premises. What can they do to me? do i need to get an attorney? Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

A contract requires three things: an offer, acceptance, and consideration. If they had you sign a piece of paper and then immediately escorted you from the premises, unless there was some kind of payment included, you received nothing for your promise. As a result, the contract is invalid. Your promise not to reveal confidential information is gratuitous and unenforceable. In addition, sending an email cannot be a breach of a contract you had not signed yet. So, even if the confidentiality agreement were enforceable, which it's not, they can't prove that you breached it.

If they proceed with filing a lawsuit against you, yes, you'll probably want a lawyer because they'll have one and you want to make sure you're treated fairly. But first:

  1. Read the confidentiality agreement to see if there's anything in there about attorney's fees. You might be able to have them pay for your lawyer if they sue you and you win.
  2. It may help to let them know that the agreement you signed was invalid, if they gave you nothing for signing it. If they see you're fighting back, they may drop it (especially if they talk to their own attorney who can confirm that they needed to give you consideration). If the agreement requires them to pay for your lawyer, you can remind them of that fact.
  3. It may help to start making a list of potential lawyers that you'd be interested in talking to. If they DO sue, you'll only have a couple of weeks to reply to the lawsuit, and having an idea of which lawyer you want in advance can help reduce some of the stress. A good place to read reviews from former clients is www.martindale.com.

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