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After rejecting non-compete, she went to competitor and got sued

Competition among Maryland gambling houses has become increasingly heated in recent months. Baltimore's Horseshoe casino is a recent entry in the business, ratcheting up pressure on the Maryland Live casino just a few miles away.  

While the two establishments go head to head, attorneys for Maryland Live are trying to persuade a federal court to prohibit a former employee from using high-roller contacts she made at Live in the course of her current work as a host for the Horseshoe.

The woman said she was presented a noncompete contract while she worked at Maryland Live. The casino's general counsel said the company made it clear that as the opening of the Horseshoe got closer, hosts were expected to sign noncompete contracts that would prevent them from taking customers to the new competitor.

The woman said that as she mulled over her options, work at Maryland Live became increasingly difficult. She said she eventually tired of being "harassed" and quit her job. She later landed a similar job as a host at the Horseshoe.

Her former employers suspected she had taken with her a list of hundreds of lucrative Maryland Live high-rollers. But evidence submitted recently in a courtroom indicated she had e-mailed just 19 former customers about the Horseshoe.

The woman testified that she had gathered the names and contact information in the course of her job at Live, not from a stolen list. While Maryland Live executives might be pleased that the number of gamblers contacted was apparently 19 and not in the hundreds, the question remains the same: were those names the property of the casino that employed the woman or were they her property, gathered by her in order to perform her job well?

That decision is left to the court, of course.

However, when an employee is offered a noncompete contract, the decision to sign is up to them; a decision they might later regret if they can't successfully contest the terms of the contract. Before signing such an agreement, discuss ramifications with an employment attorney. If a noncompete has already been signed, discuss options with an experienced attorney to contest or negotiate favorable terms.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Alleged high-roller theft case shrinks dramatically," Ian Duncan, August 29, 2014

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