Ex-employee soliciting former employer clients: is it legal?

In his recent Globe and Mail column, Toronto Employment Lawyer Daniel Lublin, answers some of the most common questions that employers and employees alike have regarding termination of employment.

Ex-employees often want to understand whether soliciting their former employer’s clients is legal, especially when they have not signed a non-compete or non-solicitation clause. What Mr. Lublin explains is that unless you signed an agreement that unequivocally prohibits you from competing or from contacting clients for a reasonably defined period of time, you are generally allowed to do so. There are a few narrow exceptions to this rule, such as misuse of confidential information that you retained from your former employer (for instance, a client contact list) or in cases where you held such an important role at your former employer that they are particularly vulnerable to your actions after departure.

Employees often become confused between different terms when it comes to severance, and they want to understand the difference between severance pay and statutory severance pay . Mr. Lublin describes the difference between the two types of “severance.” Statutory severance pay is simply a minimum, like a minimum wage. This payment is legally required in most cases and is not dependent on the employer’s payroll size. Employees can be (and most often are) entitled to more than the statutory severance pay, just like they are often entitled to more than minimum wage.

When it comes to employment law, it is always good idea to contact an expert who will be able to provide more detailed advice and information about your legal rights. Daniel Lublin’s full article Can I contact clients from my former employer? can be read in his Globe and Mail column.