If there is no non- compete agreement, or it is deemed unenforceable, does the former employer have other claims it can pursue against me when I leave the company?

Legal Considerations for Former Employees in Minnesota:

When a former employee leaves a company, certain legal obligations and potential liabilities may arise, even in the absence of a non-compete agreement. Understanding these obligations is essential for both employers and employees.


Confidential Information Protection:

In Minnesota, employees are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of their former employer’s sensitive information, even without a non-compete agreement. Minnesota’s common law provides protection against the misuse of confidential information by former employees. Additionally, the Minnesota Uniform Trade Secrets Act (MUTSA) and the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) safeguard employers from the improper acquisition, sharing, or use of trade secrets.To qualify as a trade secret, the information must meet specific criteria: it must not be widely known or easily accessible, it must have economic value due to its secrecy, and the employer must take reasonable steps to maintain its confidentiality.


Breach of Duty of Loyalty:

All employees owe a duty of loyalty to their employers, which prohibits them from soliciting the employer’s clients for personal gain or engaging in competitive activities while still employed. This duty persists regardless of the existence of a non-compete agreement.


Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Seizure of Corporate Opportunities:

Partners in partnerships, and officers, directors, and shareholders in closely-held corporations have fiduciary responsibilities to their employers, which extend beyond the duty of loyalty. For example, while offering a job to an at-will employee may not always be considered improper, it could constitute a breach of fiduciary duty if the person making the offer owes fiduciary obligations to the employer. Fiduciary duties also encompass refraining from soliciting fellow employees or clients while still employed and not seizing business opportunities for personal gain without offering them to the employer first.