Employment Law

Employment law questions? Ask an employment lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I received a cease and desist order to stop using my former…

Customer Question
I received a cease and...
I received a cease and desist order to stop using my former employer's confidential information and trade secrets on my own or on behalf of other entity. I don't know how to properly address such order, I am a Marketing Rep my job has always been to obtain information from clientele, stay updated on competition, and establish new accounts. All information ever obtained was solely through me performing my duties. This information is not trade secret, these were never house accounts, these were accounts that I gained and have established a close business relationship with, throughout time such accounts have decided to follow me because they were not pleased with the service after I resigned from my previous employer and have now transitioned and are doing business with my current Employer. I never once signed a document that stated I could not use information obtained by my myself in any future endeavor. As a matter of fact, in my term of employment with mentioned former employer I only signed a W4, I9, and Employment Application. Please advise, I don't know where I stand or what my next move should be.
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: Employment Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Answered in 20 minutes by:
6/30/2015
Employment Lawyer: Patrick, Esq., Lawyer replied 3 years ago
Patrick, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,536
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Verified
Thank you for your question. In California, agreements that operate to restrict an employee's ability to compete are void as a matter of law except in certain limited and inapplicable circumstances. Employers, therefore, often attempt to limit an employee's ability to compete by claiming "trade secret" violations. In most cases, such allegations will not hold up in court because the definition of "trade secret" is quite narrow. In order to qualify as a trade secret, information must (1) derive independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and (2) be the subject of efforts that are reasonable under thecircumstances to maintain its secrecy." If you never signed any sort of document indicating that you were dealing with confidential information or attempting to restrict your disclose of certain sensitive information you learned on the job, your employer already has very little to stand on when it comes to claiming that the information at issue was "subject to efforts to maintain its secrecy." But even if you did sign something attempting to restrict your use of information learned on the job, that does not automatically made the information a protectable "trade secret." It seems like your employer is attempting to construe the definition of trade secret so broadly that just about ANYTHING learned in the course of the employment is a trade secret. That cannot be the applicable definition--otherwise, an employee could never accept a second job in the same industry as the first. Usually, employers send out this sort of cease and desist letter hoping that it will scare the employee into quitting their job, and the letter is itself an empty threat. The reality is that even if the employer felt they had a legitimate claim, the amount of money they would spend in legal fees pursuing it would be so high and the prospects for ever collecting on a judgment so slim that it is not worth it for them to file a lawsuit. Your options are to call your employer on their bluff, or to hire an attorney to respond to the cease and desist letter explaining why the information you were exposed to is not actually a trade secret. the latter option would show that you are serious about defending against a claim, but in most circumstance is probably not even necessary as the employer's threat is empty to begin with. How you choose to proceed is, of course, up to you. I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an employment lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,536
14,536 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.

Patrick, Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care.

MildredWashington, DC

Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you

Happy CustomerDenver, CO

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Allen M., Esq.

Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

13,334 satisfied customers

Employment/Labor Law Litigation

Marsha411JD

Marsha411JD

Lawyer

12,490 satisfied customers

Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

12,478 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

JB Umphrey

JB Umphrey

Lawyer

6,273 satisfied customers

Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.

John

John

Employment Lawyer

4,029 satisfied customers

Exclusively practice labor and employment law.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

3,007 satisfied customers

I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.

ScottyMacEsq

ScottyMacEsq

Lawyer

2,893 satisfied customers

Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney

< Previous | Next >

Related Employment Law Questions
I started to work at an insurance company as an actuary three
I started to work at an insurance company as an actuary three weeks ago and signed the non-compete. I am not happy here and I don't think I got exposed to any critical information (even tho I have an … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
As a buisness owner of a hair salon in mass with two
As a buisness owner of a hair salon in mass with two employees that I have employed for 5-8 years that have guit one of which has optain her clientele thru me and has obtained there personal info and … read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
33,756 satisfied customers
I signed a non compete and I believe an employment letter.
I signed a non compete and I believe an employment letter. However, I am not going to take the position and start my own business, which would violate this if valid. Would this be enforceable? I haven… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Attorney/Landlord/Realtor
Doctoral Degree
38,228 satisfied customers
I am a salesman of a small reseller. My father, who
Hello, I am a salesman of a small reseller. My father, who has been with the company 15 years got me employed. He owns about 33% of their total revenue and does very well with this company. The idea o… read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
My key sales manager just resigned effective immediately and
My key sales manager just resigned effective immediately and has started work at the competition. He is contacting all my clients. can i do anything? Can I file suit against his new employer. Florida,… read more
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
2,893 satisfied customers
I have owned a successful salon and spa for 28 years and 3
I have owned a successful salon and spa for 28 years and 3 of my stylist printed of customer list when we were away . What legal rights do we have because they took important data, which will have a F… read more
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
14,536 satisfied customers
A former employee who left over a year ago after doing his utmost to d
A former employee who left over a year ago after doing his utmost to destroy my company has commandeered my business Facebook account and converted it to steer my business to himself. He has renamed t… read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
I own a pet salon and I have a former employee whom I fired
I own a pet salon and I have a former employee whom I fired calling 2 of my other employees for information regarding pricing and grooming instructions for dogs she groomed in my shop who have chosen … read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
My wife owns a waxing salon and an employee of 3 years quit
My wife owns a waxing salon and an employee of 3 years quit and started her own business within a mile of my wife's. My wife's business has one computer with all of her client information stored on it… read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
4,029 satisfied customers
when hired by my company 7 years ago in Mayland, i signed an
when hired by my company 7 years ago in Mayland, i signed an employee agreement which included a non compete clause for my sales position. Subsequently 2 years ago the company updated the employee agr… read more
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
2,893 satisfied customers
I am an accountant and an investment advisor. I sold my business
I am an accountant and an investment advisor. I sold my business to another firm 5 years ago, and agreed to work for them for 5 years, with a covenant not to compete for the same period. Now that the … read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
find out attorney with non-completiotion law in marietta Our
find out attorney with non-completiotion law in marietta Our former employee stole our compnay's information and trys to start his business as our competitor. He quit our company 3 weeks ago. We let h… read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
If I have worked for a pet sitting agency, but never signed
If I have worked for a pet sitting agency, but never signed a contract of any kind, nor was ever given insurance or a W-2, and decided to start my own business and some of his clients want to come wit… read more
KUMI95
KUMI95
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
17 satisfied customers
Signed a severance package when terminated with a non-compete
Signed a severance package when terminated with a non-compete clause for 6 months. There is a paragraph that states "In the event I wish to enter into employment with a competitor I must first ask for… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
JD
20,454 satisfied customers
I am a catering director for a small company in Maryland. We
I am a catering director for a small company in Maryland. We do not have a permanent venue; all our events take place off site. I have been offered a catering director position with a major hotel chai… read more
JPEsq
JPEsq
Attorney
Doctoral Degree
5,086 satisfied customers
Is there a law in CT which prohibits employees from using general
Is there a law in CT which prohibits employees from using general trade information acquired from their previous employer in order to benefit their former employer's competitor? In other words can I s… read more
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq.
Employment Lawyer
Juris Doctor, Cum Laude
13,334 satisfied customers
my former emplorer sent me a xcertified letter threatening
my former emplorer sent me a xcertified letter threatening legal action if I contrac any of his customers. I did not sign a non competition clause , can he do anything?… read more
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
2,893 satisfied customers
I signed a non-compete agreement for my job 3 years
I signed a non-compete agreement for my job 3 years ago. It states that it is enforcerable for 12 months after I quit or fired. Is this type of agreement legal in California? If I am held to that than… read more
Lawgirl
Lawgirl
Founder
Doctoral Degree
4,606 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x