Does Texas Law Recognize a Claim against Competitor's Poaching of Employee?

Many times one competitor sues another competitor over the hiring or two or more employees (whether over allegations of a breach of contract or misappropriation of trade secrets), the Complaint will make allegations of employee "poaching".  This gives rise to the question about whether Texas recognizes a cause of action for one competitor's poaching of another competitor's employees.  The answer is "yes" and "no." 

While there is no recognized cause of action called "poaching" for a competitor's targeting, soliciting and hiring groups of its competitor's employees (remember, Texas is a right to work state and restraints of trade are highly disfavored), there are recognized causes of action, remedies and tools available to employers who find their workforce the target of a competitor's poaching.  These include use of and enforcement of covenant not to competes; investigating and bringing claims for misappropriation of confidential information; theft of trade secrets; claims for unfair competition; breach of the duty of loyalty and fiduciary duty; tortious interference with contract; computer fraud and abuse; and conspiracy to tie together all the defendants acting in concert together.  

So while there may be no claim titled "poaching" under state law, there are recognized claims that can allow for an employer remedy against a competitor that has unlawfully targeted another competitor's employees.

 

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