Every business must protect their interests and in some cases, that means suing a former employee. Texas Roadhouse Inc. is doing just that because they allege that a former employee took recipes and trade secrets when he left.
In the lawsuit, Texas Roadhouse says that the employee left to go to work for California Pizza Kitchen, which is based out of Los Angeles. Before he left Texas Roadhouse, the employee allegedly tried to learn as much as he could about a new restaurant in North Carolina that Texas Roadhouse opened. The employee had been with Texas Roadhouse since 2006 until he left in Aug. 2013. He oversaw many Texas Roadhouse restaurants, but the lawsuit didn't specify the number he was responsible for supervising.
Texas Roadhouse is seeking a temporary injunction and a restraining order against the former employee. The lawsuit wants to keep him from using what he learned about the new concept restaurant in North Carolina. Apparently, the employee allegedly took photos of the new restaurant's menus, interior and design when he met with Texas Roadhouse's director of culinary and concept development. The lawsuit also alleges that information about a new pizza was taken by the former employee.
The court filing states that the man was recruited by the president of California Pizza Kitchen, who once president of Texas Roadhouse until he left in 2011. This recruitment of Texas Roadhouse employees was a violation of the former president's post-employment agreement. That agreement, though, expired one week before the former employee left Texas Roadhouse and went to work for California Pizza Kitchen.
There are some many ways that the loss of trade secrets and confidential business information can harm a company. A former employee, such as the one discussed here, can cause a great deal of damage. In many cases, companies have little choice but to seek the services of a qualified business law attorney to see what their rights and options are in terms of trade secrets litigation to ensure their interests are protected.
Source: bizjournals.com, "Texas Roadhouse alleges former employee stole recipes, concept secrets" Andrew Robinson, Nov. 06, 2013