Raiding Your Competitors’ Salespeople in Missouri: What are Owners’ Key Questions?

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger

Your competition is hurt and bleeding and your industry is down. You own a business and you are in the enviable position of having extra cash. However, barriers to entry are low in your industry and buying your competition’s business may not be a good investment.

An easier strategy, a bit predatory of course, is to hire the salesperson from the failing businesses.

You have searched the internet as to the wisdom of the idea, and you are a bit confused. As fate would have it, the decision is made somewhat easy for you and you are approached by the salesperson in question who lets you know he can bring a substantial book of business given that he is fairly sure his employer’s ship is sinking.

You are aware of the duties that an employee owes an employer, and you intend to stay squarely within the law. The competitor is savvy and you know there has to be a non-competition/non solicitation agreement. You quickly arrange a meeting with the salesperson and you ask her to bring a copy of her non compete/non solicitation for legal review.

So, what are the key questions you should be asking in Missouri during these hard economic times:

  1. Has your compensation arrangement been recently unilaterally changed?
  2. Has the business changed hands (Roeder v. Ferrell-Duncan, Clinic, Inc.)?
  3. Is the employer in the process of being downsized and will you be asked to sign a severance agreement (Carboline v. Lebeck and PPG Industries)?
  4. What are the events leading up to the decision to seek new employment-material breach issues (McKnight v. Midwest Eye Institute of Kansas City, Inc.)?

The answers to these questions will help you and your counsel determine whether you need to buy the business, hire the employee or pursue other strategies.

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