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I live and work in Kansas. I just recently left my job and…

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Hi- I live and work...
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: 2 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
1/21/2016
Employment Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
Verified

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.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

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Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
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Experience: Former judicial law clerk, lawyer

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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).

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