2nd June 2017
A leading technology company and long-standing client of Andrew Dekany, partner in Thrings’ Employment and Immigration Team, sought legal advice after discovering one of its longest-serving former senior executives had undertaken employment with a direct competitor.
The former executive had started, maintained and developed his LinkedIn account during his long employment with the company. Our client’s primary concern centred on his competitive activities assisted by retained access to these contacts via his LinkedIn account.
Our Employment and Immigration Team’s long-standing experience acting in competition cases ensured we assessed the situation comprehensively. As employee competition cases are not analysed solely in terms of traditional post-termination restrictions, the team established that one of the company's strongest arguments lay in the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997.
Tailoring our approach to the circumstances of this case, Thrings argued strongly that the large majority of the connections belonged to the company even though the LinkedIn account belonged to the executive. We articulated this through strongly-worded letters to the ex-executive and his new employer, threatening to apply to court for an injunction.
On receipt of the letter, the former executive was suspended by his new employer. Subsequently, favourable undertakings were given to the company both by the executive and by the new employer. These included deletion of certain connections on LinkedIn and undertakings not to re-connect with them for a year, mirroring the period of the post-termination restrictions. With guidance from Thrings , our client company has since updated its social media policy.
For further commentary on this case, or to discuss any employment-related issue, please contact a member of Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.