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Dancers sued over stealing trade secrets, marketing plans

A North Carolina court has determined that a case may continue against dance instructors who left one studio to work at another. According to the studio that hired them, they brought the foreign dance instructors into the country under temporary work visas because of having extraordinary ability in the arts and athletics. The lawsuit states that the owners of Happy Dance spent time and money securing the work visas for two of their instructors on the understanding that the two would work for the Fred Astaire dance study the owners run.

Within just months, the partners moved to work at a competitor's studio, taking trade secrets and marketing plans with them. Initially, the courts did not believe there was enough information to hold the two foreign dancers accountable for leaving to work for another company. The North Carolina Supreme Court disagreed and has stated that the case against them may move forward.

The positive thing about this case is that the court recognizes the danger of taking trade secrets and marketing plans from one business to another along with the impact that it has when foreign workers arrive to the U.S. for one company and leave shortly after for another.

It's not always easy to know who to hire or who to trust. However, it's typical to be able to file a claim if someone leaves your company with your secrets and heads to work for a competitor. You should make sure your contracts are in place to prevent people from doing the above, so you can protect the marketing ideas and assets that belong to you.

Source: Seattle Times, "North Carolina court allows case against dance instructors," Emery P. Dalesio, The Associated Press, April 11, 2018

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