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Is employee sniping a form of unfair competition?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Business Litigation

Companies invest a lot of money in recruiting and training the right talent. Your organization’s human resources department exists to help you find and retain the best possible talent, and a lot of your company’s operational costs stem from paying for employees.

Of course, the investment makes sense because the right staff can help your company. Bringing in a new executive or engineer can make a huge difference for your business’s growth. Unfortunately, the same employees that could benefit your company could also give your competitors an edge over your organization.

Those operating in the same industry or an adjacent one might need some of the same kinds of professionals that your company employees. They might even intentionally approach your workers with job offers to try to tempt them into leaving your business. So-called talent poaching occurs when a company hires current or former workers at a competing business. Is employee sniping or intentionally going after your talent a form of unfair competition?

Hiring your former workers can quickly become unfair

Fair competition involves any action that makes another business more attractive to both customers and talents than your own. If a competitor can tempt your workers into taking jobs that their organization by offering better pay and benefits, it isn’t necessarily a violation of the law to do so. Your employees are also free to take new job offers that promise better pay or benefits.

Sometimes, how a competitor goes about recruiting your employees could violate contractual agreements. If you have employees sign non-compete or non-solicitation agreements, you could enforce those agreements against individual workers who go to work for a competitor or who start recruiting for them. Non-disclosure agreements can also protect an employer against a worker leaving their company and sharing their secrets with another company.

If your competitor intentionally creates false reviews of your business’s behavior as an employer online or engages in acts of corporate espionage to connect with your employees or convince them to leave their job at your company, then you may have grounds take action against that competitor. Understanding when questionable business practices cross the line into unfair competition can help you better defend your company when you lose key talent to competitors.