Companies go to great lengths to protect sensitive information that is specific to their company. Business owners in New York work hard to develop their products, processes and customer base so if a former employee puts that in jeopardy, it may be appropriate to take legal action.

In many cases, a company will have employees sign a non-compete agreement if they want to prevent that person from sharing company information with competitors. Often, these agreements protect a business if an employee wants to work in a similar position at a competing company. Without a non-compete agreement in place, however, it can get tricky.

Recently, a man was sued after he quit his job as a salesman for a material wholesaler. According to the lawsuit filed by his former employer, the man regularly worked with confidential information and had access to trade secrets during his employment. He abruptly quit one day, claiming that he could no longer make a living in his sales position.

However, the company found out that the man started working for a competitor the day after his resignation. Not only did the man not disclose this move to his former employer, but he had been talking with the competitor for some time. The suit also alleges that the competing company financially rewards people who steal customers from previous employers.

There are no reports of a non-compete agreement that was violated in this case. It is possible that if the employee had signed a non-compete agreement, the company could have prevented the man's move to their competitor. Having these types of contracts in place can be very beneficial for business owners.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Materials wholesaler sues employee for going to competitor," Kelly Holleran, Aug. 9, 2012