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Corporate/Legal Ethics Issue... employment (a tad long)(22 posts)

Corporate/Legal Ethics Issue... employment (a tad long)funknuggets
Dec 11, 2003 1:49 PM
Ok, another issue has come up.

I work for company x, a consulting firm that has prostituted me out to a project that has kept me on for almost 4 years. We have been told that my application will be outsourced to EDS this upcoming year. So, I will be basically out of a job at some point this upcoming year. However, since my contract does not expire until March... company x isn't doing a single thing to place me somewhere else and does not have a good history of carrying people on the "bench".

Last summer, at company x, one salesperson and one recruiter basically up and created their own company (company y) that has the same look and feel as company x. Due to some 'proprietary' information and some lists that were copied of clients and current employees, a lawsuit ensued that was set to prevent company y from doing business in this area.

They settled out, where company y stated that they would not do two things... recruit company x employees or market to IT firms in this geographic location until next May.

This week, company y called me for a pretty darn good opportunity here in the same geographic location starting asap. So basically company y is going against BOTH restrictions in the agreement.

So, my core question. How does this really impact me??? Meaning, company x has stated that they arent going to help me until I am actually unemployed, so why show loyalty to them. Im an at will employee, so I can go anywhere I want. So, should I take the position, and regardless of how I structure it... whether they hire me on fulltime, or contract for hire me... .if company x finds out... what would happen, if anything, specifically to me (other than a cease and desist which would cause me to lose my job)... company x could not sue ME could they?

Im really not considering this seriously at the time, but should I become unemployed, it would look REALLY attractive. I was just curious about the legal stipulations.

so ponders the funk...
Chris
not really an ethics issuemohair_chair
Dec 11, 2003 2:03 PM
If your group is being eliminated, the agreement with company Y seems like it has become moot. Maybe not legally, but to reasonable person, it would be hard to enforce the agreement if they are going to fire everyone anyway. That's just mean, and unnecessary.

I'd take the job with no regrets. If pressed, I would have no problem lying and saying I contacted company Y on my own. If the job is similar, it would be the obvious thing for me to do. You have to look out for yourself here, not the feelings of company X. Why suffer because of a silly agreement that doesn't make sense anymore?
What I would think about is this:dr hoo
Dec 11, 2003 2:04 PM
Is a company that violates its agreements in both spirit and letter going to be one you can trust?

Think about that question before you consider the legality of the situation, and your exposure to consequences of the legal situation.
That is an interesting pointfunknuggets
Dec 11, 2003 2:11 PM
I hold all the freaking power in this relationship, though. While I agree that they are sneaky, should they step out of line... I simply quit and let my friends at MCG know what went on. Im quite sure they realize this and would avoid this at all costs. Plus, they only have like 5 people so far, and likely have a lot to gain by getting me in, and a lot more to lose by letting me go.

I wouldn't want to abuse the relationship, but it appears as if the only ass on the line is theirs. It IS an ethical situation as it seems unprofessional and illegal and Im not real sure I want to get involved. I think if hired by the client, I could freaking name my price. That is the strange part, as these guys seem kind of desperate.

Chris
expand the context beyond this specific issue.dr hoo
Dec 11, 2003 2:17 PM
In a month or a year when they tell you "we will do A, B, and C", will you believe them?

If as you say "these guys seem kind of desperate", then red flags should be going up left and right!
sure...funknuggets
Dec 11, 2003 2:25 PM
With contracting, I dont place much value on future promises, so I usually take everything upfront in salary requirements or sign-on bonuses.

Yah, I only say they are desperate because they are so small and trying to grow. Perhaps desperate is a strong word. But agreed, red flags all over the place and as I said, I am not desperate at this point. So, this opportunity is not on the top of my list, so to speak. Im just more interested and/or concerned about the legal implications should this be my only viable choice come layoff time.

Chris
Background questionLO McDuff
Dec 11, 2003 2:51 PM
Is your State a "Right to Work" State? If so, it may be illegal for them to prevent you from working with company Y. When asked by Company X, you could say that YOU approached Company Y.
perjury can get you impeached, too. n.m.shawndoggy
Dec 11, 2003 2:58 PM
If company Y gets sued for breaching agmt, can it survive?shawndoggy
Dec 11, 2003 3:01 PM
Basically it's like getting on a plane with a known defect. Nothing might happen, but then again it may crash, and you have knowledge of that beforehand.
That was my pointLO McDuff
Dec 11, 2003 3:15 PM
But at this time of the day my thought processes are, um, less than optimized.

If it is a "Right to Work" state, non-compete contracts are null and void. This may be why Company Y seems to want to flaunt the system.
I think you misread the question...shawndoggy
Dec 11, 2003 3:56 PM
If it is a "Right to Work" state, non-compete contracts are null and void.

Even if that's true, funk said he didn't have a noncompete.

Rather his potential second employer had agreed not to poach employees from his current employer. So the "right to work" doesn't apply to second employer (which I'm assuming is an entity, not an individual, given the use of the term "company"). Meaning that second employer would be bound by its agreement not to poach, no?
re: Corporate/Legal Ethics Issue... employment (a tad long)jaybird
Dec 12, 2003 4:31 AM
Can you take a proactive stance with your current company and try to get yourself redesignated with them and perhaps not be pigeon holed when the current contract expires. Tell them that you are concerned about losing your job and that you really want to stay with them, since they are your favorite company etc... and see what they say. I would not officially pursue the second company until you lose your job with the current one. If they let you go then you have every right to find gainful employment elsewhere.

If company b really wants you now, they will still want you in March.
yah, its a screwed up situation.funknuggets
Dec 12, 2003 7:59 AM
I've asked and they have some covenant with my current client that they will not "pull" contractors out during a contract period, so... they said they would if my client said it would be okay, but my client said they needed me. So... it is a gamble whether my company will have anything, but they sure as heck aren't helping out now, thus forcing me to at least halfway consider these options.

Company B only wants me cause they have a current opportunity to fill and I am the perfect template to put in there. I doubt the opportunity will still be there in March, but at this point, I dont really care. Reading below... did I just see my post get hijacked? Egads.

Damn eurotrash music fans (haha, just kidding)

Chris
re: Corporate/Legal Ethics Issue... employment (a tad long)MJ
Dec 12, 2003 5:22 AM
employment legislation - particularly in respect of restrictive covenants is very local - you should have a chat with a lawyer in your state as these things vary significantly from place to place

if you were in England I could help you...

anyways - remember that there are two answers a lawyer should give you - the letter of the law and what it specifically says about what you can and can not do - on the other hand a lawyer should be able to give you the commercial angle and say what the prospects are in the real world and not by strict legal interpretations...

this is not something to pot shot about - get professional advice at least informally - where are you?
Agree . . .ms
Dec 12, 2003 6:46 AM
I am a lawyer who usually represents companies trying to enforce agreements such as the one about which you are inquiring. But, occasionally I have represented people in your position as well. The enforceability of any restriction and the consequences for its violation differ from jurisdictiont to jurisdiction. Also, there are many nuances that may impact whether a particular restriction is enforceable. In short, you need to talk to a lawyer that can address the applicable law and your particular situation.

If Company Y really wants you, you should ask Company Y to pay for an independent lawyer to review the situation and advise you. Make sure that you select the lawyer. Get the money for the fee up front. The fee should not be too much -- I would expect that a lawyer who knows something about the applicable law would not need more than a few hours to review the relevant documents and give you an opinion. If you do decide to go to work for Company Y, one of the terms of your employment should be that Company Y will pay your legal expenses, including your having counsel independent from the Company's, if both you and the Company are sued by Company X -- usually these cases settle out with some type of agreement among the interested parties, but the legal expenses to get to that point can be expensive.
Off topic pop music inquiry if you please, mate128
Dec 12, 2003 6:50 AM
If you're (or anyone else reading this) into (pop) music can you tell me what's popular in the London/England music scene? Last I was tuned in it was like The Verve, London Sued, Oasis...Still popular?

Recently got the Saw Doctors (Dublin?)That's old, I know.
Anyway, not sure if this is your thing, if not apologies for the bother and thanks in advance, err...Cheers.
Off topic pop music inquiry if you please, mateMJ
Dec 12, 2003 7:18 AM
depends what you're into

there's something for everybody here - almost all bands play London at some point in a given year due to euro-festivals etc. - there's always a receptive audience - whatever genre - from psychobilly to metal to indie to rap to electronica and even country

for example I saw the Drive By Truckers last week - they rocked and all were pleased

Kings of Leon are quite a big sensation here at the moment as are the Strokes and Flaming Lips

Verve broke up and R Ashcroft is a prick
Oasis are bloated and old news
Suede have just split up and had a farewell tour
egad - almost forgotMJ
Dec 12, 2003 7:22 AM
The Darkness - go buy their new CD - trust me
right! : ) nm128
Dec 12, 2003 7:45 AM
I'm hip, dude. Thanks128
Dec 12, 2003 7:42 AM
I'm into everything (except saprano opera and kate bush)

Right now I'm deep into the catalog of Ireland's first and best: Thin Lizzy, and traditional Irish (pub) stuff and Johnny Cash. That's why I ask: nothing new here is getting me. Maybe Audio Slave but pretty darn derivitive.

I ask Not just bands that play there, but are from over there or "the Continent".

I know the V broke up, they're like, imho, the last great band. I have just about everything they recorded. Mcabe absolutely blows my mind with his guitar style. Just amazing.. I'd like to know if he is recording.And for a young guy Ashcrofts lyrics were surpisingly mature and excellent. but right, a prk. The video is all "look at me walk..here look at me again" when I JUST WANTED TO SEE THE BAND!

Yeah Llike Kings of Leon n stuff. Big British stuff, There's always some huge sensation over there.I got the Stateside stuff. Seriously, I often find the London here today gone tomorrow fashion a few steps ahead in the little world I inhabit inside my mind, i.e the stuff I like.

Thanks again...cool to have first hand info.
I'm hip, dude. ThanksMJ
Dec 15, 2003 5:27 AM
check out St Etienne - very English pop - Tiger Bay is the one to start with - saw 'em last night at the Palladium
re: Corporate/Legal Ethics Issue... employment (a tad long)Duane Gran
Dec 12, 2003 8:08 AM
You should only concern yourself with any non-compete agreements you signed with company x. Generally such non-compete clauses take effect if you leave the company, but if they let you go then all bets are off. You are free to work anywhere you want. As for company y, let them worry about themselves.

I did a bit of contract work in the DC area. From my experience it is a dog-eat-dog world. Just CYA and don't stress it. If both companies are serving the same list of clients, keep in mind that the client must also want company y. Company x would be wise not to piss of the client, so they will only push so far.