Solicitations – I know it when I see it.
Frequently I get the question of what type of conduct on Linked In violates a non-solicit?Unfortunately there is no clear bright line test and its more like Justice Stewart’s approach to obscenity – I know it when I see it.
I really like Jon Hyman’s discussion of a recent case where a trial judge denied a former employer’s attempt to obtain a temporary injunction against a former employee who updated his Linked In employment information to reflect a new job. The court said no – the update was not a solicitation.
If a client or customer contacts a former employee about business after a job separation it is hard to characterize that as a solicitation., If a former employee sends a direct email to a former customer requesting a meeting to talk business that usually qualifies as a solicit. The problem is with conduct that is not so black and white.
An update to your Linked In account that indicated you have a new job doesn’t appear to be a solicitation. But what about these:
Happy to be at XYZ Corporation, ready to talk to you about your [business issues].
Happy to be at XYZ Corporation, call me to discuss our recent [business promotion].
I’ve moved to XYZ Corporation and am offering the same services I provided at [former employer] for better prices – call me.
Does it matter if the request went to 1 person or 500 (liked Linked IN status update.)? There are no easy answers but usually there will be more evidence for the court to consider than just a Linked In communication. As I often say, there is no one size fits all answer to these types of issues.