“What does ‘Prospective Customer’ mean in a Non-Compete or Non-Solicitation Agreement?”

Published on July 30th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Question: I am a Business Development Specialist for a large Wealth Management firm. When I started my job four years ago, I was required to sign a non-compete agreement.

The non-compete agreement says that, if I ever leave my job with the firm, for any reason, for 12 months I can’t solicit or transact any business with “customers or prospective customers” of the firm. Isn’t everyone a “prospective customer?” If not, then who is and who is not?

Louisville, Kentucky

Answer: Dear Leon: I’m glad you submitted your question, because it’s a very commonly one. It comes up nearly every time I counsel a client regarding a non-compete agreement or a non-solicitation agreement. This is what I counsel my clients:
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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on July 27th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“No matter how big or soft or warm your bed is, you still have to get out of it.”

– Grace Slick

Hey, it’s a new day. Good morning, sunshine. Up and at ’em. Another day, another dollar. Kick your shoes on. Go get ‘em. Make this day one to remember. It’s all up to you. Psych yourself up to deal with today with a winning level of enthusiasm, a firm foundation of confidence, and a rock-solid determination to succeed in everything you do. This day is a gift, a new day, a potentially great day, and a chance that will be never given to you again. Grab it!

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

A Negotiating Story – “Monticello”

Published on July 22nd, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Negotiating Story
The True Story:

Thomas Jefferson’s home, located outside Charlottesville, Virginia, is named “Monticello.” It includes a sprawling plantation house and outbuildings that are preserved as a museum and popular tourist attraction. Monticello is considered an excellent example of neoclassical architectural design, and is registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Each day hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tourists take guided tours of the site and its main house, which have been painstakingly decorated, floor to ceiling, with precious antiques of the early 1800’s. In each bedroom in the main house, on each bed is a precious quilt, hand-sewn in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.

For years, the museum curators found dirty fingerprints on the quilts, left there by curious tourists. Washing or cleaning these quilts posed a danger of additional wear and tear to the centuries-old, hand-sewn cloth. So, museum staff placed a sign next to each bed that read, “Please do not touch the quilts. Thank you.” The signs did not help; tourists kept touching the quilts.
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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on July 20th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“There is as much dignity in tilling a field as there is in writing a poem.”

– Booker T. Washington

Work well done, no matter what type it may be, is a day well lived. Creation, repair and even demolition are all part of the grand process of life. There are no menial chores, only menial attitudes.

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

Public Domain – Key Words & Phrases

Published on July 15th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Key Words

What is the meaning of:


“Public Domain” generally means “owned by the public,” or contrariwise, “not owned or own-able by any person.” It has specific meaning in the fields of real estate and copyrights. In the employment context, “public domain” relates primarily to the what is, and what is not, employer-owned and legally protectable “confidential” information.

The importance of understanding what is in the “public domain” arises when employees are asked by their prospective employers, their new employers, or their former employers, to sign Confidentiality Agreements, or confidentiality provisions inside Employment Agreements, Severance Agreements, and the like. Such agreements are always very broadly written so as to give the employer maximum protection, and to convey the impression that “everything under the sun” is and must remain “confidential.”

Information is “public domain” information, and thus not “confidential” information, if it is known by, or available to, the general public. So, how much each partner in a company was paid last year might be confidential, but it loses its confidentiality and becomes “public domain” if that information is published in newspapers, or in Court files as part of a lawsuit.

Since the advent of the internet in our lives, the issue of what is, and what is not, “public domain” has been become a delicate problem. So, if documents are “stolen” and then posted on the internet, have they lost their confidentiality? Are they now “public domain,” and thus capable of being shared with others without risk to the person doing the sharing? These questions abound, and are not all easily answerable.

In the employment context, confidentiality is the “default,” meaning that it is to be presumed unless there exists a good reason not to hold that view. For most purposes, it will suffice for you to presume that all information at work, including personal information, business information, and client information, is “confidential,” and, thus, cannot legally be used or disclosed.

For more information, insight and inspiration regarding issues of workplace confidentiality, proprietary information, trade secrets and the like at work, just [ click here. ]

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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