employees resigned to work for home health previous worked LTC

I was employed by a Long Term care company, I accepted a position with a Home Health Agency,
employees who worked with me at a LTC company resigned and want to work for me at the Home Health Care Company. I did not recruit anyone they applied by filling out applications. I later received a letter about this being a non compete, they are threating me for this.
this is to completely two different companies.
No trade secrets, they are nurses, going from LTC to home health two completly different companies.
I did sign a non compete with the LTC company, however I did not recruit them, they came to me.
what is wrong with someone changing positions?

1 answer  |  asked Jan 27, 2012 8:52 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Kelly Trautner
First, It is difficult to provide initial thoughts without knowing what prohibitions where written into your non-compete agreement. This is a heavily litigated area of employment law with many factors frequently scrutinized by courts.

One of those factors is likenesses of the businesses as between your previous and current employers. With the current shift toward in-home LTC, it could be a stretch to claim that the businesses are so different that a non-compete agreement would not apply. But, it is difficult to tell without seeing the language.

Other factors courts commonly look at are the distance between the two employers and the length of time the employee is bound by the non-compete. With the state of our economy in recent years, many courts have looked at non-compete agreements to determine whether the limitations on the employees' ability to earn a living are too restrictive.

There is nothing wrong with changing positions, but employers in a competitive industry like healthcare need to enforce these agreements to ensure fair competition in their markets. If I were writing a non-compete provision into an agreement, it would likely prohibit unfair solicitation of other employees from a competing employer. In your business, patient care could suffer if a departing employee took all the experienced staff to a competitor as well.

My recommendation is to locate an attorney in your area who is experienced in employment matters. Review with him or her the contract containing the non-compete provision and the letter you received from your former employer. It may be something he or she can help you rectify with some formal communication with the former employer. This is something you should handle now, rather than later.

This is particularly true if the agreement requires you to inform your new employer of the non-compete. It is very difficult for clients who thought they left a former job behind, only to find themselves in a dispute involving both current and former employer.

I hope this information is useful to you, and that you have expeditious and positive resolution of the issue that has arisen with your previous employer. Best of luck!

posted by Kelly Trautner  |  Jan 27, 2012 9:37 PM [EST]

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