Employees moving to rival firms not unfair competition, top Turkish appeals court says

Published 10.06.2017 12:14

Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker moving from one company to a rival company working in the same sector did not constitute unfair competition, setting a precedent for similar cases in future.

The worker in the case left his company in Istanbul and founded another company working in the same sector. He then recruited some of his colleagues from his former company to the new company.

The owner of the first company went to court, saying that the workers who had passed to the new company were party to trade secrets that they would use against his company. This gave the new company an unfair competitive advantage, the owner claimed.

The first instance court responded by saying that the first company owner was obliged to prove that the workers had used secrets to an unfair advantage. This proof was not present, the court ruled, and rejected the case.

Later the company boss took the case to the 11th Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which confirmed the court's ruling that there was no proof of an offense being committed. The Supreme Court emphasized that the workers had the right to move to another company under Article 48 of the Constitution, which guarantees workers the right to freely choose their employer.

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