Non-Compete Agreement Dispute: Solicitations Via LinkedIn Not Enough
In our experience, LinkedIn is the worst enemy of employees navigating the dangers of working at a new employer. We have seen many situations where a new employee posts his or her new job and LinkedIn publicizes this to the employee’s connections. The problem is that usually employees from the old job (where the non-compete or other restrictions exist) get notified of everything that is being done because they are still connected. This is not to say LinkedIn is doing anything wrong: its business model seems to focus on promoting professional advancement, But, when an former employer gets notified from LinkedIn, the former employee’s potential restrictive covenant/non-solicitation/non-compete issues are now front and center and there is evidence of this.
The Illinois Appellate Court recently issued a pro-employee ruling wherein a former employee’s LinkedIn account sent out emails. The court found that this was not a violation of his agreement. The Court held that “the undisputed facts established that the invitations to connect via LinkedIn were sent from Gelineau’s LinkedIn account through generic e-mails that invited recipients to form a professional connection.”