LinkedIn has become an essential tool for many professionals. The site provides a platform for making business connections, sending direct messages, gathering marketplace information, and posting updates and content. But the very features that make the site useful for business and career development can also stir up trouble where non-competes and non-solicits are involved.
A number of courts have grappled with the impact of social media sites like LinkedIn on non-compete and non-solicit agreements. Most recently, in Bankers LIfe and Casualty Company v. American Senior Benefits, LLC et al, an Illinois appellate court considered whether a former branch sales manager for a life insurance company violated his agreement not to solicit company employees when he used LinkedIn to make connections with former colleagues after he left to work for a competitor.
Merely inviting a former co-worker to connect on LinkedIn seems a far cry from an improper solicitation—although I have seen lawsuits and cease-and-desist letters based on grounds even flimsier than this. "Non-solicit" does not mean "cut off all contact whatsoever." In this case, however, there was a small twist: The former sales manager had also published a job posting for his new employer on his LinkedIn page that could be viewed by those with whom he was connecting.
Last year I launched an organization for lawyer, judges, professionals, and academics called the Society for Law and Culture. Through engagement with the best of philosophy, literature, history, theology, and the arts, the Society aims to strengthen the ties between law and culture and promote a renewed sense of law as a vocation and humane profession.
The next Annual Gathering of the Society for Law and Culture will be held May 19, 2018 at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta, Michigan. As with the Society's inaugural gathering, attendees are expected from around the country. The Society has confirmed an amazing roster of distinguished speakers to address the theme, "Moral Imagination and the Law."
Please watch the Society for Law and Culture website in coming months for more details. If you would like to receive periodic updates about the Society, please email me.
Law and the Creative Economy is the blog of lawyer Maxwell Goss. This blog is for informational purposes only.