Employees leaving companies to work somewhere else is nothing new. Most of the time, it is nothing that a company needs to worry about, though there are instances where it could be cause for alarm. While many former employees often go work for a similar business, there are times when doing so could pose a threat to their former employer. This is why many Georgia businesses use noncompete agreements to protect certain trade secrets from falling into the hands of competitors. Retail giant Amazon recently sued one of its former vice presidents over this very thing when he left and took a job with Google Cloud.
The former Amazon VP worked for Amazon Web Services in product marketing. Amazon alleges that his new job with Google Cloud is very similar and violates a noncompete agreement the former VP signed. The agreement prohibits him from working for a competitor for at least 18 months.
The man acknowledges that he signed such an agreement but says he had reason to believe that Amazon wouldn’t enforce it. He claims that other employees have left in the past and not been subject to a lawsuit when they go to work for a similar company. He also claims that his new job will not involve use of any of his knowledge of trade secrets.
Amazon Web Services recently filed suit against others for similar alleged violations. One former employee who also went to work for Google Cloud had his role limited after a judge decided his new job may result in him revealing confidential company information. Amazon dropped another suit after it reached an agreement with a former employee that included temporary restrictions on his employment.
Though enforcement of noncompete agreements may seem harsh, it is often necessary. Companies cannot afford to lose valuable knowledge to competitors. Businesses here in Georgia interested in protecting their trade secrets may want to work with an attorney to create a noncompete agreement that protects them from such a thing happening. It can mean the difference between a business floundering or thriving.