Caution When Leaving Your Job

Caution When Leaving.

You don't have to camp at Crystal Lake to get the ax. But if you do, read the fine print before using any of your old scripts. Review all the documents you signed with an employment attorney: employment agreement, firm manual, non-compete, etc. Have a lawyer review any termination agreement before you sign. Are you subject to a non-compete, non-disclosure, gag order, or other restrictions? What do they mean to your job search? Has your lawyer reviewed the reasonableness and enforceability of the restrictions? Watch out for misappropriation of confidential proprietary information which belongs to your former employer which may have to be returned and not used. This might apply even if you're not subject to a non-compete.  This could include: customer contact information, electronic rolodexes, files, lava lamps, documents, etc. Try to forward a few quick emails to yourself or downloading the boss man's hard drive onto a memory stick, and Jason could be after you. Big Brother can detect these actions with pretty routine steps.


Knowing the parameters cannot only help you evade Jason, but might save the interview with a new employer by showing them you've been careful, responsible, and won't be bringing them new issues. Given the competition in the employment market, you don't want the other candidate to have done their homework better than you.


In spite of certain restrictions, you may be permitted to contact your customers directly and inform them that you have left your position because of a reduction in force (if appropriate) rather then letting them surmise that your departure was for more nefarious reasons.  You may have to look up customer phone numbers on line rather than using contact information misappropriated you're your former employer. Ask your lawyer what you can say given the restrictions that may apply. You might be limited to explaining your departure, and that you will be in touch and will let them know where you land.  If you're subject to non-solicitation restrictions, you might advise customers that you're not allowed to solicit them as customers for X amount of time (the time of the covenant) and that you want to abide by your agreement, but that you want to stay in touch with them generally.  Showing you're ethical and live up to your agreements could be great PR.

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