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Former Belk CEO sued by company for recruiting employees for GameStop

Nir Patel left his position as Belk's CEO in May to become the COO of GameStop. His former employer is now accusing him of violating a nonsolicitation agreement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former Belk CEO is facing a federal lawsuit from the department chain's corporate office after they say he violated the terms of his contract by taking company documents and employees to GameStop, where he now works as COO.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Nir Patel, a former Belk CEO, GameStop, and Tim May, a former senior member of Belk who now works for GameStop, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Patel began working with Belk as an executive vice president in 2016 and was promoted to CEO in July 2021. In less than a year, he left this position to become the COO of GameStop.

One of the conditions of Patel's employment stated that he is not allowed to solicit any Belk employees for another company for a year after he leaves. However, according to the lawsuit, Patel, along with GameStop, offered jobs to many senior Belk employees, including May.

These actions violated a Nonsolicitation Covenant that Patel agreed to while working for Belk, according to the lawsuit.

Additionally, Belk officials claim May and Patel conspired to send confidential employee compensation information to GameStop. These actions violated a non-disclosure agreement that May agreed to.

May is accused by Belk of violating state and federal trade secret acts. Patel is accused by them of breaching his contract. And GameStop is accused by Belk of tortious interference and unfair trade practices.

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Belk leaders believe these actions are causing direct harm to their company's functioning. They are demanding the case be settled through a jury trial, financial compensation, and that May be barred from working with GameStop.

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None of the defendants have legally responded at this time. This case is ongoing.

Belk was founded in the Charlotte area in the 1880s. The company has grown to consist of 300 stores in over a dozen states.

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