How to Hire a Competitor's Employees
In Ohio and other states that recognize the "fair competition" defense to tortious interference claims, the answer is "possibly." If the employee was "at-will" and
- you do not employ wrongful means to procure the breach,
- your action does not create or continue an unlawful restraint of trade, and
- your purpose is, at least in part, to advance your interest in competing with the other employer,
then you may have the defense of fair competition. Importantly,
the defense of fair competition is only available to the competitor (and not the employee, who will have to defend the contract breach claim) and, again, applies only to agreements
that are terminable at-will.
To learn more about legal risks and defenses related to hiring a competitor's employees, check out MEL's FAQs about Hiring a Competitor's Employees.
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