Our nationwide practice is well-versed in advising employers on all kinds of disputes involving departing executives and employees, ranging from disputes involving alleged breaches of executive employment contracts, restrictive covenant agreements, and fiduciary duty to disputes involving the actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secrets. We recognize that your investment in your workforce, customer relationships, and proprietary information are your most valuable assets. Accordingly, we have considerable experience drafting and negotiating agreements designed to protect those assets, including noncompetition, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements, as well as developing programs designed to maintain the confidence of your trade secrets. And, when one of your executives or key employees depart to join a competitor, we stand ready to act immediately to protect your interests no matter where the dispute arises, having secured prompt injunctive relief on behalf of our clients in courts across the nation.
Unlike many aspects of employment law, the laws governing disputes regarding employee migration, the enforceability of restrictive covenants, and other types of unfair competition claims vary considerably from state to state. Moreover, the law governing a potential dispute is often the subject of considerable debate and may be determined by where the departing employee is located, not where your business is headquartered. Having litigated the full range of issues presented by the departing and competing employee, lawyers within this practice are acutely aware of the kinds of noncompetition agreements that your business needs to implement to have real protection down the road. Our proactive philosophy is summarized by one simple tenet: “Hope for the best, but anticipate and plan for the worst.”
When a competition dispute arises, our goal is to implement an immediate strategy designed to promote our client’s business goals both with respect to the departing employee(s) at issue and its broader workforce. Sometimes those goals warrant negotiation with the competitor, who may or may not be aware of the risks associated with hiring the departing employee(s). Sometimes, however, those goals warrant immediate legal action seeking injunctive relief against the actual or threatened competition, along with a detailed forensic examination of the kinds of evidence that often reveal pre-departure competition and misappropriation of trade secrets. We know this landscape well, having been called on to implement a clear and firm strategy within hours of the inception of disputes that have arisen across the nation. We also work closely with attorneys in our Intellectual Property practice when employee migration disputes involve potential trademark and patent infringement concerns.
We are thought leaders on the issues relating to restrictive covenants and the protection against unfair competition, having written white papers and spoken before the Georgia Assembly on Georgia’s new noncompete law. We also have assumed a leadership role in the Employment Law Alliance’s Trade Secret initiative working with management-side lawyers across the world to address the risks associated with employee migration and competition. Furthermore, we have particular experience handling the kinds of transactions and disputes regularly faced by international companies who have made inbound investments and opened affiliated companies in the U.S. We also regularly provide value-added services to assist our clients in preparing for disputes regarding restrictive covenants and unfair competition, including regular authority alerts and an annual, free of charge Employment Law Seminar, which covers topics relating to employee migration.