Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LinkedIn Messages Spark a Lawsuit

“The use of social-networking sites to breach the terms of noncompete agreements will be the focus of an unprecedented lawsuit filed by an IT staffing firm against a former employee. Chances are, the courts will rule that it's the message, not the medium, that matters, experts say.

If you're one of the 65 million people with LinkedIn accounts, you probably use the service to invite other members to join your online network of business contacts, participate in online discussions or, perhaps, set up in-person meetings to discuss business-related matters.

If you're using LinkedIn to reach out to former colleagues, however, you might want to do a quick review of your noncompete agreement first; otherwise, you could end up in court.

Brelyn Hammernik, a technical recruiter, was recently sued by her former company, Hanover, Md.-based IT staffing firm TEKsystems, after she sent messages to members of her LinkedIn network -- members who also happened to be current employees of TEKsystems.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the company contends that Hammernik's communications violated a noncompete agreement that bars her from contacting former clients and co-workers."

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