A Philadelphia County state court judge recently issued a preliminary injunction in favor of a law firm against a former associate enforcing a 60-day notice provision. In doing so, the Court ruled that the former associate could not work elsewhere for 60 days and could not solicit his former employer’s clients. If the decision is upheld and/or followed by other courts, it provides ammunition for employers to argue that notice provisions are not tantamount to non-competes. Employees frequently argue that notice provisions may not be enforced because courts may not compel employees to work for an employer as such an order would run afoul of the Constitutional prohibition on involuntary servitude. While that may be true, the injunction recently issued by the Philadelphia court reflects a possible appetite among the judiciary to prevent former employees from shirking their notice obligations without consequence.
Kline & Specter, P.C., is a personal injury law firm with offices in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Robert F. Englert, Jr., Esquire, is a former associate who joined K&S straight out of law school. During a preliminary injunction hearing, K&S’ counsel argued that Englert should be held to the terms of an employment agreement that required him to provide 60 days notice. According to K&S, Englert should be precluded from working anywhere but K&S for the duration of his notice provision. K&S reasoned that Englert failed to provide information needed by the firm to continue representing its clients.
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