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Duty of Loyalty

Hackensack Attorneys Advise Employees on the Duty of Loyalty in NJ Employment Law

New Jersey employment lawyers help avoid legal claims

Under New Jersey law, employees have an implied duty of loyalty to their employer. A breach of that duty can lead to the employer bringing a lawsuit to recover money damages for resulting harm. The knowledgeable employment attorneys at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack advise New Jersey workers about this important duty and how to avoid the potential repercussions of violating it.

What is the duty of loyalty under NJ employment law?

In general, employees may not act contrary to the lawful interests of their employers. Violating this duty of loyalty is grounds for termination, even if you are employed with a contract that requires good cause to fire you. A firing on this ground may leave a black mark on your employment record that can damage your future career. In addition, your employer may sue you to recover any damages it suffers as a result of your breach of this duty, as well as the salary it paid you.

Examples of the duty of loyalty

Employees are required to:

  • Refrain from engaging in activities that could harm the employer’s business
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Protect confidential information from disclosure
  • Not deliberately drive away the employer’s customers
  • Act in the employer’s best interest during the course of employment.

There may be other types of conduct that could affect performance of your duty of loyalty. We can advise you on compliance and can defend you in employment litigation if your employer or former employer accuses you of a violation.

Restrictions on employment with competitors

It is a breach of the duty of loyalty to work for any of your employer’s competitors, especially if doing so might injure your employer’s business. This doesn’t mean you can’t look for jobs with competitors while you are still with your current employer, as long as you don’t actually do work for them until you leave. However, the company might require you to sign a non-compete agreement that prohibits you — after you leave the job — from working for other companies in the same type of business in the same geographical area for a set period of time. Your employer might also require you to sign a non-solicitation agreement that prohibits you from encouraging clients or customers to switch their business to your new employer. We can advise you on the extent to which such agreements are legally binding.

Responsibility of maintaining the duty after resignation in New Jersey

Even if you are not subject to a non-compete agreement, you have a continuing duty not to reveal your former employer’s trade secrets and other proprietary information, and especially not to use them to benefit its competitors. We can advise you about your continuing duty and what actions it covers, with a view to avoiding legal entanglements with your prior employer.

Contact a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney

The experienced attorneys of Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack can advise about the duty of loyalty you owe your company in New Jersey and the scope of its coverage. To schedule a consultation, call 551-245-8894 or contact us online.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

Carly Skarbnik Meredith Attorney Photo
Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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