Former Employee

News & Analysis as of

Industrial Espionage and the Defend Trade Secrets Act

American corporations are facing an ever increasing threat of misappropriation of their valuable trade secrets through industrial espionage, defined as the theft of a company’s trade secrets by an actor intending to convert...more

Agreement Prohibiting Solicitation of Employees by Former Employee may be Unenforceable

A recent decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has raised serious questions regarding non-solicitation agreements that are often included as part of an employment agreement or severance agreement. A non-solicitation...more

Wisconsin Court Strikes Clause Restricting Solicitation of Employees

An engineer’s employment contract provision imposing a post-termination restriction against soliciting former co-workers to quit or to accept employment with a competitor, supplier, or customer is an unenforceable restraint...more

Sharing of Passwords Under Certain Circumstances Unlawful

Many companies have experienced the departure of an employee and the elimination of that former employees access to the company’s computers and networks. In the recent case of USA v. Nosal, D.C. No. 3:08-cr-00237-EMC-1 (July...more

Two New England States Pass Legislation Restricting Physician Non-Competes

We’ve written a lot this summer about the Massachusetts legislature’s latest failed attempt at non-compete reform. Two other states in New England, however, are able to claim accomplishments in that regard. Specifically,...more

NY Attorney General Schneiderman Declares “War” on Non-Compete Agreements That He Perceives as Overbroad

In an initiative that is virtually without precedent in New York, in the past two months (June 15, June 22 and August 4) Attorney General Schneiderman announced agreements with three separate companies in three different...more

Wisconsin Court Finds Anti-Poaching Agreements to be Unenforceable

Analyzing an anti-poaching agreement as a non-compete agreement, a Wisconsin Court of Appeals has confirmed that a former employee’s agreement not to solicit other employees may be void and unenforceable if it is too broad....more

Fourth Circuit Decision Reminds Employers That Overbroad Noncompete Agreements May Not Be Enforceable

If your company operates in a territory covered by the 4th circuit (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) and requires employees to sign a noncompete agreement with language similar to the...more

FEATURE: Proper Use of Confidential Information Provisions

One of the significant pitfalls businesses encounter is the misuse of confidentiality provisions in company policies and employment agreements. Nearly all employers include restrictive covenants prohibiting the use or...more

Ninth Circuit Rules on Meaning of “Without Authorization” under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Last month, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the criminal conviction of an individual for accessing a computer “without authorization” in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). U.S. v. Nosal (9th Cir., July 5,...more

A Few Things To Avoid When Drafting A North Carolina Covenant Not To Compete

The Business Court closely examined a set of restrictive covenants last week in Sandhills Home Care,, LLC v. Companion Home Care-Unimed, Inc., 2016 NCBC 59. This decision collects a number of North Carolina Court of Appeals...more

Congressional Report Finds FDIC Data Breach Response Obstructed Congressional Oversight

On July 12, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (the “Science Committee”) released a report regarding its investigation of an October 2015 data breach and the subsequent response of...more

Court Reverses Summary Judgment On Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against Corporate Director

In E&E Serv. & Supply v. Ruddick, a corporation sued a former employee who formed a competing business. No. 11-14-00055-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 7514 (Tex. App.—Eastland July 14, 2016, no pet. history). The trial court...more

Déjà Vu Not All Over Again: Ninth Circuit Strengthens CFAA In Nosal II

On July 5, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its highly anticipated decision in the most recent chapter of United States v. Nosal, holding that an individual acts "without authorization" as used in the Computer...more

Ninth Circuit Interprets “Without Authorization” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

When we last left David Nosal, he had escaped liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after convincing some of his former colleagues at executive search firm Korn/Ferry to use their log-in credentials to download...more

Nevada Confirms Its Restrictive Covenant Law, But Rejects Blue Penciling

In the first decision to reach the Nevada Supreme Court on whether state district courts may modify or “blue pencil” non-competition agreements, the high court has concluded that doing so would violate Nevada law. Golden Road...more

Taking a Walk Back to a Kinder, Gentler Interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

We don’t usually talk about four-year-old court decisions in the first instance here. But the Ninth Circuit has issued a pair of noteworthy opinions interpreting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the last few weeks. And...more

Nevada Supreme Court Refuses To “Blue Pencil” Unreasonable Non-Compete

Nevada, unlike California, applies a reasonableness test to non-compete agreements. Although the Nevada courts haven’t identified a specific heuristic to be followed, a covenant not to compete will be found to be...more

Court Reverses Judgment Dismissing Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Because No-Evidence Summary Judgment Motion Was Not Sufficiently...

In Tex v. Iom, a former employer sued a former employee based on a covenant not to compete and breach of fiduciary duty and sued the new employer for tortious interference. No. 12-14-00254-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 7317 (Tex....more

Ninth Circuit Vastly Expands Scope of Criminal, Civil Liability for Computer Fraud

In a pair of highly anticipated decisions, the Ninth Circuit significantly reshaped criminal and civil liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The court’s recent decisions in United States v. Nosal...more

Court Upholds Conviction Of Ex-Employee For Conspiring To Access Company Data Through “Shared” Password

Is password sharing a crime? It can be under the right circumstances, according to last week’s decision in United States v. Nosal. In Nosal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction of a former...more

CFAA Double Feature: Ninth Circuit Issues Two Important Decisions on the Scope of Liability Related to Data Scraping and...

This past week, the Ninth Circuit released two important decisions that clarify the scope of liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The Act was originally designed to target...more

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Dissent claims that new Ninth Circuit case criminalizes password sharing

Danny Defendant, employed by Acme Widget Co., quits. Acme, of course, disables the password that Danny had used to access the Acme computer system. Danny then asks a friend, who still works at Acme, for her password. She...more

California Employment Law Notes - July 2016

Employer Is Entitled To Recover $4 Million In Attorney's Fees From EEOC - CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1642 (2016) - The EEOC filed suit against CRST (a trucking company) alleging...more

Ninth Circuit Rules that CFAA Imposes Criminal Penalties When Terminated Users Try To Access Systems With Borrowed Passwords

It can be a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) to “access[] a protected computer without authorization.” The CFAA clearly applies when criminals with no connection to a company try to force their...more

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