Disagreements between employers and employees are common in Georgia. These cases often involve disputes over restrictive covenants, which are specific terms in employment contracts. For instance, if an employee signed a non-solicitation clause and then violated that agreement after leaving the company, the employer may need to sue them for breach of their employment contract.
Regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee involved in this type of litigation, you will need an experienced attorney to represent you. At Sparks Law, our legal team is skilled at handling non-solicitation agreement disputes in Georgia. We can discuss your specific situation and help create an effective strategy to protect your interests and pursue a positive case outcome.
Not to be confused with a non-compete agreement, a non-solicitation clause prevents a former employee from soliciting various types of business related to their prior employer. Typically, this agreement states that the employee may not solicit business from their former employer’s customers. It may also prevent an ex-employee from convincing their former coworkers to leave with them—for example, to work for a competitor or start a new company.
Importantly, there are different scopes of non-solicitation agreements. A clause may only cover a specific geographic range or customers that the employee had direct contact with. Alternatively, a non-solicitation agreement could address all of the customers for the entire company, regardless of whether the former employee directly interacted with them. A skilled lawyer at our Georgia office can go into further detail about creating a legally enforceable non-solicitation agreement to avoid future disputes.
Employees often will have some kind of contact with the customers of their prior employer after they leave the company. Because of this, non-solicitation agreements are common sources of contract disputes. For instance, customers will sometimes have the employee’s cell phone number and just call them. Whether or not that constitutes the employee’s solicitation of the customer is a legal question that could go either way, depending on how the person’s attorney presents the scenario.
The employer could argue that that employee solicited business from the customer, meaning that they tried to get the customer to go to another company. The employee could argue that the customer called them, which might not be covered by the non-solicitation agreement. Without legal counsel, non-solicitation clauses are often vaguely written and difficult to prove one way or the other in a dispute.
The exact definition of direct vs. indirect solicitation depends on the terms of the specific contract. Typically, direct solicitation means what you would expect: direct contact with a former customer or client. This could be a phone call, an email, or any other form of direct communication.
On the other hand, indirect solicitation would be putting out a form of communication that is very likely to reach former customers without directly contacting them. For example, this could be a Facebook post that says, “Hey, I’m Jonathan Sparks and I now work at this other law firm. If you would like to continue to work with me, you should give me a call at this number.” An advertisement or billboard could be another form of indirect solicitation.
Non-solicitation agreement disputes in Georgia are common, but they can also make for complex cases, as it is difficult to prove contact for things like mass text messages or newsletters. As such, anyone on either end of this type of dispute should seek dedicated legal counsel for help arguing their case.
Whether you are an employer whose former employee breached your agreement, or an employee being sued over unfair terms, consult an attorney at Sparks Law. Call us today to learn how we can work tirelessly on your behalf.