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The Law And LinkedIn

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If your employer owns your work-related rolodex, who owns your LinkedIn contact list? You may be surprised by the answer.

In the first lawsuit of its kind, a court in the UK ruled that where a former employee left to start a competing business, he had to give his former employer the LinkedIn contact list that he’d developed while at work.

If you are in sales, it is your job to make contact with purchasers at the client. And while many salespeople don’t like it, they understand the general idea that if they signed a non-compete agreement with their employer, they have to give up the rolodex of contacts they made on their old employer’s dime when they leave.

But, as technology improves, so do legal issues. And while some states are creating laws that will prevent a company from requiring job applicants to give them their Facebook or other social network site passwords prior to being hired, the law is very unsettled when it comes to electronic work-related contact lists or professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

You should check your company’s social media policy and also separate your business contacts from your personal contacts list to ensure that your boss can’t own the right to call your buddies after you leave.

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