Not many of you out there are one man operations; you all have one or more employees.  All employers share a common concern that trying employees, giving employees a start in their career or a chance to make a living, comes with the risk of competition.  So a few thoughts come to mind, like "no good deed goes unpunished", and the story of the turtle that took the scorpien across the river only to be stung on the other side.  It's one thing to deal with competitors in your industry on a level playing field, and another to reveal your methods and secrets and endure training, only to have the ungrateful ex employee steal your secrets and compete against you.  
    What can you do?  What should you do?  You can [except in some jurisdictions] and should require your employees to sign an Employment Agreement.   The Employment Agreement will contain

  • description of confidential information, like customer and vendor lists
  • description of trade secrets, like training manuals and pricing

    The Employment Agreement will 

  • prohibit employees from engaging in competing business, or any other work, while working for you
  • prohibit employees from sharing your confidential and proprietary records and papers
  • prohibit employees from removing your property, tangible and intangible, when they leave
  • prohibit them from soliciting your customers when they leave
  • prohibit them from soliciting your employees when they leave
  • prohibit them from competing against you within a defined territory for defined period of time

    When do you need to attend to this?  Right now.  After you have a problem it's going to be too late to get the Employment Agreement signed.  If you have a signed Employment Agreement then don't delay if your employee or ex employee breaches the Agreement.  If you're not going to protect your rights then don't expect to have them much longer.  Better to take decisive steps immediately rather than later.  When it comes to this good guys really do finish last, and broke or at least poorer.
    Good start - get the Employment Agreement