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  • #2185177

    Ethical Dilemma


    by amcol ·

    The following situation describes an actual occurrence.

    You are an IT manager of a shop that is mostly resourced with employees but also has a small percentage of consultants. One of your consultants approaches you and indicates he wants to be considered for permanent employment with your company.

    Some pertinent facts:

    1. You have no current official openings. You would have to work with HR to create a headcount.

    2. You have had no prior conversations with this consultant, or any other consultant, about the possibility of a permanent posting. There is no precedent for this at your company.

    3. The consultant is very competent, very highly regarded, and would in fact be a valuable addition to your staff.

    4. The consulting company that currently employs the consultant has a formal contract with your company. That contract has a standard bidirectional one year non-solicit clause.

    5. You have been doing business with this company for several years, are satisfied with their services, and intend to keep on using them in the future. They are a large national firm.

    Question: how do you handle this situation?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3052831

      Not sure that it’s your dilemma

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      After all you have not solicited the consultant.

      Seems to me the ethical ambiguity is in the consulants court as he has solicited you for a job using the in the agency gave him at your place.

      • #3052830

        True, but…

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Not sure that it’s your dilemma

        The question is not whose dilemma it is, the question is how do you as the manager who’s been approached handle the situation?

        This isn’t about judging the consultant’s behavior, which may or may not be ethically ambiguous. It’s about the proper management response to the situation.

        Let’s agree the one thing you can’t do as the manager is ignore this, hoping it’ll go away. What action do you take?

        • #3048407

          OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          by plditallo ·

          In reply to True, but…

          1. I would tell the consultant first and foremost, that I appreciate his/her past and current contribution to our organization.

          2. I would tell him/her that I would be willing to be an advocate on his/her behalf for our organization by discussing the possibility of opening an opportunity for him/her with our HR department,our Finance/Purchasing department, and our attorney AS WELL AS with his/her consulting company–if– and only if– he/she is willing to move the request further along knowing that his/her explicit/implicit contractual commitment prohibits the practice per se.

          3. If the answer from the consultant is “Yes”, then I would contact the HR/Finance/Purchasing departments first to determine if the enterprise I work for would even consider the matter. If the answer to that question is “No”, I would advise the consultant of this, then close the matter. If the answer is “yes”, then I would discuss the matter with the attorney. If the answer is “no” from the attorney, I would advise the consultant of this, then close the matter.

          4. If the answer is “yes” from the attorney–and/or– I realize there are risks of which I think the consultant may be unaware, I would then make the consultant cognizant of those risks. I would offer him/her another opportunity to abandon the effort. If the answer is “Let’s stop”, I would close the matter.

          5. If the answer is “Let’s proceed”, then I would have the purchasing department make arrangements to discuss the possibility with the consultant’s agency.

          From that point on, it would be up to all parties involved to bring their cards to the table to work out the details.

          I don’t see this case as a crisis of conscience. Such a spiritual rift would only come into being when any one (or more) of the stakeholders choses to: (a) not act in good faith; (b) be untruthful.

          I’m not sure why you asked, but I hope this helps.

          Kind regards,
          –Paula DiTallo

        • #3048393

          I agree

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          Paula’s post is a little more touchy feely than I would say is required. It really depends on what kind of consulting house we’re talking about. There are a lot of consulting houses that temporarily hire contract employees to fill job openings. This kind of contract/consulting house acts more like a broker between customers with a temporary job to fill and independent consultant/contract workers. This kind of consulting house will probably be happy to let you hire the consultant for a fee, just like any employment agency would do. If the consulting house has permanently hired this consultant to service their customers and has groomed them, trained them, and shepherded their career then you might have a problem.

          I believe that if you talk to the consultant’s agency you will find that they are likely to have provisions for this already in place.

          As Paula pointed out, first find out if your employer would make a position available. If not then end of story. If your employer would make a position available then ask this consultant if he/she would mind if you contacted his/her consulting house. If he/she doesn’t mind then go ahead and approach the consulting house about making arrangements for this to happen. If you can’t agree to terms then forget it.

          In the end it really isn’t a big deal. It’s just a series of little issues that need to be researched.

        • #3048390

          …ahhh well…touchy-feely or not…

          by plditallo ·

          In reply to I agree

          We both would have made the same sets of decisions!:-)) BTW, I agree with you on the terms issue–if the parties can’t agree, its hopeless!

        • #3048278


          by amcol ·

          In reply to …ahhh well…touchy-feely or not…

          In the interest and spirit of being transparent, I posed the question not because I was looking for advice or direction. As I said, this was based on an actual incident. What I didn’t say was that the incident happened a year ago and has already been resolved.

          This is an intellectual exercise. I’ve noticed in reading many of the postings over the last few months what I consider to be a rather distressing lack of knowledge of proper ethical behavior, or even worse a conscious avoidance of ethical procedure for the sake of expediency. I’ve taught classes in MBA programs about IT management, and the subject of ethical behavior was always a big part of the curriculum.

          I appreciate your responses, and would rather not comment too much on them just yet since I’d like to see if anyone else contributes to this discussion. However, with regard to one of the points made, the consulting firm in this case is not a temp-to-perm agency…it’s a national, actually international, consulting firm whose stock in trade is putting resources on term of project efforts, then moving them onto other term of project efforts either at the client company or at another.

        • #3048257

          You’re a little devil

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Clarification


        • #3048250

          So tell us

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Clarification

          how it was resolved?

        • #3048493

          It’s actually a matter of money

          by ibm5081 ·

          In reply to Clarification

          While the non-solicitation clause does (and should) discourage companies from treating their consultant contractors as an employment agency, the consultant house realizes that they cannot hold their employees as hostages forever. The employee wants out of the consulting business into the full-time job position, but is constrained by contract.
          Once the contractor is made aware that their employee is interested in a job with their client, they can set a price for revoking the contract to make the employee available to the client prior to the expiration of the one-year clause.
          There is incentive for the client to decide what that person is worth as an employee. As well, the contractor has other consultants who are still engaged with the client; there is incentive to continue the profitable relationship with the client.
          Just because the employee wants a job (which does not yet exist) does not obligate the client to create one immediately. The client should definitely communicate with their contractor to establish terms and conditions if their own management concurs that the consultant’s performance warrants it.

        • #3048487

          I disagree

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Clarification

          No disrespect intended, but your response is exactly the reason I posted this to begin with.

          This is NOT a question of money. That’s precisely what’s wrong with the way most folks have been trained to operate. Notice I said TRAINED TO OPERATE…I’m still naive enough, at my advanced age, to believe most people are innately honest and do things that are morally, legally, or ethically ambiguous because they’ve received some message somewhere along the line that it’s OK to do so.

          You say the non-solicit “discourages” the hiring of consultants by client companies. It doesn’t discourage it, it legally enjoins it. There’s no room for interpretation…this is very binary in that there are two choices, either do the right thing and honor the contract or do what’s expedient and suffer the potential consequences.

          I agree that consultants are not indentured to their own companies, and they are entitled to seek employment elsewhere. If there’s a legal contract that says the consultant cannot accept an opportunity from a particular company, set of companies, or whole industry, there’s still a vast amount of opportunity elsewhere that the consultant is free to pursue.

          To your point about paying the contractor to revoke the contract, that is in fact what happened. I paid a conversion fee to the consulting company equivalent to what I would have paid a search firm, in consideration of which I received a legal document indemnifying me personally and my company from any legal remedy as spelled out in the non-solicit…not to mention permission to hire the consultant.

        • #3050405

          Is it a matter of money?

          by elder griffon ·

          In reply to Clarification

          I wouldn’t be so hard on tkendr01. Certainly, the contract prohibits solicitation of employees, and I agree that any ethical solution to the problem requires the parties to affirm their commitments or else be released from them. However, to acknowledge that the forbidden action may represent a tolerable set of circumstances to the aggrieved party, if their concerns are dealt with in formal way, doesn’t seem unprincipled. This is merely another way of saying that the situation can be amicably resolved.

          All tkendr01 did was suggest that money was probably the key factor in satisfying all parties, regardless of the contract’s provisions. In fact, this seems to be much the case in your example, as you have said.

          I actually agree with tkendr01 that the purpose of the provision was probably to discourage solicitation, not forbid it, because such matters are so common that it’s reasonable to suppose they couldn’t be avoided altogether no matter what the contract said. This is not meant to suggest that the contract’s provisions should have a reduced force or moral authority, as you imply that tkendr01 suggested. It is only the statement that, realistically, it’s not likely that the consulting company has any vested interest in strictly enforcing the provision under all circumstances, and therefore offers of money are likely to succeed.

          Here’s a more interesting situation: If the two companies do millions of dollars worth of business and have a good relationship, the client might be able to bully the consulting company into a “voluntary” waiver of the provision, perhaps for some nominal and wholly inadequate fee. Would that be ethical? In that case, the overall good to the consulting company of preserving the relationship outweighs the bad of allowing an exception, so that case can be made that it was merely a successful negotiation. I myself would view it as unethical behavior on the client’s part, but many people, I suspect, would not agree.

        • #3050389

          Its business.

          by melar ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Elder Griffon hit the nail on the head, in a round about way.

          To sum it up, this is business. Business, like it or not, is driven by money. You want to make a decision in business, you way up the _financial_ pros and cons. You can put what ever spin on it you like, but in the end you’re weighing up how much dosh you stand to gain or loose.

          It was harsh to have a go at someone for saying money is the way out, and then go on to say you did exactly as he said too.

          Hypocrisy is far worse than materialism.

        • #3050388

          I still disagree

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Clarification

          It so happens that in this particular case money was a factor but not the only one, nor even the key factor. Certainly the consulting firm wanted to maintain a long standing lucrative business partnership with the client company, but the real driver here (beyond adherence to the highest standards of ethical behavior) was human relationships. The consulting firm wanted to do right by an employee of theirs who’d always done right by them, and in so doing wanted to be seen as a superior place to work. They also wanted to do right by me…I’d been doing business with them for many years and they wanted to honor that relationship as well.

          It actually turns out that in the long run this was a money loser for the consulting firm. I ended up hiring two other of their consultants in the same fashion as the first, and the workload didn’t justify replacing them. They knew that was going to happen when they agreed to the hires, BTW. The overall account billing went from about $1.5 million annually to about $800k. On the other hand, I certainly looked more favorably upon them when considering other consulting gigs.

          We’re not attorneys so we shouldn’t be arguing arcane legal points, but I still maintain the use of the word “discourage” is incorrect. To me this is very black and white…the non-solicit specifically said neither firm could hire the other’s employees until one year after that employee had severed from his/her employer, and there were legal remedies spelled out in the event that clause were to be violated. That’s a particularly imperative form of discouragement, don’t you think?

          To the question you posed…yes, bullying the consulting firm into allowing the hire would be quite unethical. Taking advantage of being in and abusing any position of authority is, in my mind, always unethical. Suppose your manager bullied you into doing something, doesn’t matter what…that’s another example of abuse of authority, and equally unethical.

        • #3050386

          I think we’ll have to agree to disagree then.

          by melar ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Discourage exactly the right word. A legal document can not physically prevent you from doing something wrong; it can only put the ground work to punish you after the offence has been committed. Therefore it is a discouragement, not prevention.

          But now we’re arguing definitions.

          PS. and all your points have a $$s ramification for everyone involved aswell. 😉

          Business is money; you can’t deny or change it. It’s a sad state of the world, but try and change it and you’ll just get run over.

          Business: commercial activity involving the exchange of money for goods or services.

        • #3050313

          I have to agree…with both

          by overcharge ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Yes, it is a matter of money, and yes it is ethics.

          The company has an asset and either rents the services, or accepts a recruiting fee for the release of the contractual clause.

          Unethical behavior would be attempting to avoid the negotiation entirely and circumvent the contract.

          Having been solicited by a company in a similar situation, and having been encouraged by them to circumvent the provisions, I can understand a different slant.

          I turned down their offer, and asked for a new assignment. If they’d to it to a business partner, they would probably have no qualms in their dealings with an employee…simplification, but too many things are made more complicated than they need be.

        • #3050277

          Another piece of Mud?

          by williamsanders ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Basically – if a consultant approached me (you and I are clones in this instance) then I would dress him down, once, and let him know that he crossed the line. He did himself a disservice by approaching me. IF he was interested in working for my firm – he has a straightforward avenue to use for the approach within his own company, and he crossed the line in approaching me in his attempt to become a FTE with my firm.

          What he should have done was to stay within the guidelines of his current employment and tell his manager to submit his ‘stuff’ for the non-existent posting as a FTE within MY company TO MY HR department. Anything else smacks of unethical approaches, and as a highly paid consultant working for a successful consulting firm – he is supposed to know better. A side effect of this ‘slip’ might be that I get infuriated from his supposed lack of ethics, and cancel the contract in toto with the consulting firm. There are other variations of that kind of outcome, as well.

          Lets assume for the moment he did not know better, and lets assume for the moment that I like this person, that I know his work or know OF his work. Lets even assume that I have an interest in hiring him. Typically, in a consult to FTE conversion, I’m gonna pay his company 3 months of their billables (not 3 months of his salary) to get him in my door as a FTE. IIF this person is a Coding God, or a SM God, then I take that approach cause I can make the business case to the CEO, if need be, for crossing the line and bringing the Consultant inhouse as a FTE.

          I’m not saying I would do this, or that I have done this in the past. But – as with any ‘hindsight review’ – there’s a ton of considerations – I’ve only touched on a few of them, and did not even bring up the ones that *I* talk about in my standups on IT Ethics (Its good to know you teach a similar seminar series, btw) .

          I’m sure it makes for interesting reading, but with the IT arenas being EITHER a commodity thing OR a PremiumPay thing, there’s alway$ a rea$on to get the Right Per$on inhou$e.

        • #3050233

          Most of us just want a job.

          by royhayward ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Please, I agree that we should behave ethically in our business practices. But in the end we all get to go home at the end of the day. As someone who has spent more time thinking about how to get into a position at a company than how to keep others out I have to say that the tone of this conversation is very frustrating.

          If you are a manager, (someone who hires people) and someone gets your attention and asks for a job, they are doing what all “How to get a job” guides say to do. Asking for information should never be prohibited even if the answer is “no”.

          Lets not brand the consultant as morally bereft because he wants to move ahead with his career, or because he wants to be happier by staying in one place. He is not an indentured servant to the consulting firm, and for all the talk of the time and money that the firm has invested in him, I just have to laugh. The times I have been a consultant I have been placed on assignment as often as possible, and I saw no training or pay for the times in between placements.

          The consulting firm was making money the same way most new employers are, by taking advantage of the skills I had picked up on my last job. When I left them the only investment they had lost was the time they had spent marketing Me and MY skills that they had no part in producing.

          Now I don’t hate consulting firms or the practice. I have even worked for a consulting firm on the other side and marketed candidates for placements, and contacted companies for positions and contracts. One thing the consulting firm always knows, is that they companies they send people to are “Looking for people” and it should not be surprising when the company with the need wants to keep them.

          But lets get down to what this is really based on. The whole scenario is from the loss of long term loyalty that used to exist between employers and employees. I can’t imagine the world that my Dad thought he was entering when he got out of college. One where you went to work for a company and retired from them 35 years later. The job I have know is great, but it most definitely is not my last.

          Lawyers write those contracts to A) make money for themselves, B) make money for the company by giving them leverage when the contractor wishes to leave. People have a right to earn a living or so say a bunch of other lawyers. And most of us aren’t trying to be immoral, or unethical we are just trying to land employment that makes us happy for as long as we can.

        • #3050197

          The ends still don’t justify the means

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Clarification

          When you take a position as a consultant you’re making a conscious choice in terms of lifestyle and workstyle. You don’t have to participate in corporate politics if you don’t want to. You get to work on projects that interest you, for as long as you can maintain that interest. You may or may not have to provide your own benefits, depending on your relationship with the consulting firm that places you. You are subject to the constraints of a personal services contract, which is your legal agreement between you and your employer, and a consulting contract, the legal agreement between your employer and your customer company.

          You can’t sprinkle pixie dust on these legal agreements and make them go away just because it’s expedient, because you’ve decided you want join your customer company and that’s by God what you’re going to do. I agree that as a consultant you can ask for information about possible permanent opportunities with your client. However, as in all cases where you ask for something you’re implicitly recognizing my right to say “I’m sorry, I can’t help you”.

          I may be wrong but I get the feeling from your comments that you feel entitled as a consultant to ask your client for a job, irrespective of any legal constraints. That’s what this thread is all about…the ethical implications of the situation, but from the manager’s perspective. No one’s judging the consultant’s ethics for approaching the manager for a job. I didn’t when this happened, and it’s not how I posed the question. What I wanted to know was what’s the ethical response on the manager’s part, in full knowledge of the various legal constraints in effect.

          I don’t see this as an issue of loyalty at all. There’s no point in even talking about corporate loyalty any more…that whole notion went away decades ago. Companies blatantly treat employees as disposable resources, and employees equally blatantly view companies as a place to go to earn money. There’s no sense of mission, or team, or continuity. We’re all just interchangeable parts.

          I’m also not entirely happy with the sentiment of your last paragraph. Yes, we all want to be happy and fulfilled in our jobs. Speaking personally I don’t care how wonderful a job I have…if I can’t operate at the highest levels of ethical behavior then I can’t be happy at work.

        • #3048061

          Don Trump said…

          by jaker5mi5 ·

          In reply to Clarification

          “First they taught you the rules…then they taught you that those rules were meant to be broken”

          Words from a famous Wharton B-School old boy.

          Besides, what is the point of the non-solict? Is it a money making scheme for the consultants who know this will happen?


          MBA Student (Australia)

        • #3047841

          Its not so much a matter of ethics, but…..

          by tcpip4u ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Several years back I was in a situation much like yourself. I was working for a fortune 100 company as the Director of IT with an international presence in the networking space. The consulting firm that the company pulled resources from was also a large well known organization with approximately 10K employees internationally (perhaps the same firm).

          We employed approximately 600 of their consultant full time. As you can imagine the annual budget for the consulting head count was in the millions. At any rate, one day a senior engineer from the firm approached me with a similar request of wanting to be employed by the company. The individual was very knowledgeable, excellent work ethics, and very respected in his profession. At the time I didn’t have the need to add another employee. I pulled him into my office and discussed the ethical part of the businees relationship that my company and his firm had. I told the invidual that I would consider hiring him under the following criterias; first, The realtionship between my company and your firm cannot be tainted due to this mutiny. Second, the cost involved in converting him to my company would affect his first years salary. I asked him if he would be willing to sacrafice 50% of the cost to buy him out from his firm. In lieu of that loss I would compensate him with ESPP for that first year. So the negotiation began. Without strong arming the firm, I respectfully requested the firm to release him from any binding contractural agreement that prevented him from being hired by his customers. Second, I offered to pay 100% of his billable hours for 2 month, this was a substantial amount of money. Ultimately there was no qualms about me recruiting the engineer from their firm since they were compensated for the loss of billable time while they found a replacement. Since then the company and the firm continue to have a great business relationship with hiring practices that are more open and accepting than what I went through.

          These kinds of transaction is an everyday occurance and boils down to dollars and sense. Just need to understand the other party’s needs and accomodate it if you can.

        • #3047760

          It’s possible

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Clarification

          If the company you’re talking about is based in California and has a name beginning with the letter “O” then yes, it’s the same firm.

          Two interesting points from your post. One, your characterization of what the engineer did as a “mutiny”…as you can tell from reading some of my posts I’m all for zero tolerance of unethical behavior, but even I think that’s being a little harsh. Two, the way you had the engineer absorb some of the cost of his own conversion…also a little harsh.

          Other than that I think you handled the situation appropriately.

        • #3050067

          Ethical is about what is good not what is legal.

          by royhayward ·

          In reply to Clarification

          Ethical behavior is by definition behavior that is for the good of all. Baring that, it is for the greater good, of society, mankind, the parties involved, etc.

          Here are the forces involved in your equation:

          1. Employee/contractor wishes to join your company for whatever reason of his own.
          2. Consulting firm wishes to gain from the consultant by charging for their services.
          3. Company wishes to have well performing and happy resources to make its own money.
          4. Manager wishes to behave ethically so he can sleep well at night.

          In one hypothetical; If this employee were told, “No, you may not come work for us, we stand by the legal contract.” What good is served? The employee may become more dissatisfied with his company, your company and you as a person/manager. This may affect his work, and may cause him to seek other opportunities where, you and your company will cease to see the benefits of his work, and his company will cease to benefit from the revenue he generates for them. And it is not clear that the manager will sleep well with this outcome.

          On the next hypothetical; if you say, “Great, lets go and get you an application, if the company you work for now doesn’t like it they can go pound sand.” The employee and your company may benefit, but the consulting firm does not, and the manager now takes sleeping pills to deal with his guilt.

          On the third hypothetical; if you say, “Well, lets see if we can’t work this out with your company.” And you proceed to compensate the consulting firm for acquiring their employee, they still benefit from the transaction, your company benefits, the employee benefits, and everyone gets a good night sleep.

          Keeping in mind that what we are after is the greatest good, the third option is the best. If this really is an academic exercise on ethics in the workplace, what scenario with these factors can we reach?

        • #3048238

          Order of operations

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          What I do think is ethical is not to raise anyone’s hopes untless and until it can be determined that a resolution is possible.

          The ethical dilemma is between the employer and the contracting agency. A one year non-compete clause is pretty challenging.

          If I truly wanted this employee to become a full time employee I would;
          If HR approves the approach, I would go to the comsulting firm and without naming names talk to them about a what if scenario. If we wanted to hire (do not intimate that the employee came to you) one of your contract staff, for the sake of the long term relationship would you agree to make an exception, and would you want to be somehow compensated for that.

          If there is a willingness of the consulting firm to agree and negotiate, then I would discuss with the individual and see if they are committed to seeing the process through. Then I would go back to the consulting firm and discuss the individual case.

          I have seen these cases in action at a previous employer. Most consulting firms have had to deal with this kind of thing and will deal if they need to.


        • #3048199

          Here’s the answer

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Order of operations

          James is actually quite close.

          This is what was actually done, and this approach was vetted by a leading ethicist and two corporate attorneys specializing in labor law.

          The consultant was told that no conversation about joining the organization as a permanent employee could take place for the following reasons:

          1. It would be highly unethical to have such a conversation out of context, i.e. without the full knowledge and consent of the consulting firm first.

          2. It would put the company in a potential breach of contract situation if the consultant were hired without the full knowledge and consent of the consulting firm.

          As such, it was incumbent on the consultant to obtain the full knowledge and consent of the consulting firm before proceeding. That was the necessary first step.

          The consultant realized that this could possibly be a one way street. In other words, he could have gone to his firm seeking permission to post for a job with the client company, only to be branded disloyal and fired…which is perfectly legal and unfortunately happens all the time. He ultimately decided he had a good enough relationship with his boss and a great long term track record with the company that it was worth taking the chance. As it happens the boss and the company were amenable to the idea and provided written permission holding the client company harmless for any legal remediations spelled out in the contract. The consultant was eventually hired.

          Had the consultant gotten any other type of response from the consulting firm, that would have been the end of the whole idea. He could not have quit or been fired, then turned around and applied for a job with the client company due to the non-solicit. Without the hold harmless document the client company would not have chanced the legal ramifications, nor the ethical consequences.

          What do you all think?

        • #3048191


          by highlander718 ·

          In reply to Here’s the answer


        • #3048188

          Close enough

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Here’s the answer

          I think the posts outlined steps that were close enough to be okay. Action items listed in previous posts made consent of the consultant’s employer a critical issue. Whether the consulant asked his employer for permission or whether the customer asked the consultant’s employer for permission may be an important legal issue in theory but it seems like it would be a moot point in practice. Ethically it all works out to the same outcome so I don’t see a problem in that area.

          If the client where the consultant was working actually did the research I think that this would show good faith in complying with the contract so I don’t think that it would cause problems. An attorney may disagree with my position but I still think that any potential problems are just theoretical.

        • #3049086

          Presumption of Ethical Behavior

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Here’s the answer

          … by all concerned.

          As you well know, my path through IT contracting (except for the current firm I contract through) as been frought with back-stabbing, cork-screwing and dirty dealing, coupled with a air number of “consulting” firms who could not stand up for thier consultants given a spine, and a back brace.

          Glad you are able to find and cultivate the good firms, and lets all hope the current economy sweeps the bad ones away into the dustbin of history.

        • #3048433

          What seems to be lost here…

          by it makes sense ·

          In reply to Here’s the answer

          is the specifics of the language. In most situations that I’ve run across (and they are many), the language prevents direct solicitation by either organization of the other’s employees and subcontractors – not direct solicitation by the employee. Further, these clauses often have an exclusion for positions which are publicly advertised or posted.

          Here’s how I’d deal with the scenario, as laid out:

          1. I’d express appreciation for the consultant’s interest in our organization.

          2. I’d explain the non-solicitation restriction in our current agreement with the consultant’s employer, precluding our direct hiring of the consultant.

          3. Assuming the agreement with the consultant’s employer had the aforementioned exclusion on open competitions, I’d indicate to the consultant he/she should feel free to apply for any positions which became open.

          4. If the agreement with the consultant’s employer did not have the aforementioned exclusion on open competitions, I’d indicate to the consultant he/she should feel free to apply for any positions which became open, while indicating we would need his employer’s permission before considering him/her for the position.

        • #3047925

          I wasn’t anywhere close…

          by dnvrtechgrrl ·

          In reply to Here’s the answer

          The best I had to offer was that no such conversation should even take place -regardless of the legal implications.

          But, that’s also why I tinker in IT, and not labor laws.


        • #3048181

          It’s probably a common occurrance

          by dmambo ·

          In reply to Order of operations

          Consulting companies lose people to clients all the time. If you approach(ed) them in the manner that James described, I’d be willing to bet that they were fairly open. Especially if you assured them that your company’s future business with them would not suffer. As others have mentioned, it’s really only germaine if there is an actual opening involved and this person is a legitimate candidate. From you point of view, I would refer it to the HR dept and ensure that the HR manager is fully abreast of all the circumstances.

        • #3048508

          Excellent Thought process

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          This was replied in a very professional manner, that I was impressed with. Also most consultant agencies have a buy-out option that can be used. But it is not cheap.

        • #3048467


          by fractalzoom ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          Paula has whacked that nail squarely upside the head. This is no ethical dilemma unless you make it one by acting in some secretive or underhanded manner.

          I would also point out that there is a distinction between acting secretively and being discreet about your conversations on the topic. But I would handle the situation in exactly the manner that Paula describes.

        • #3050142


          by tgraham ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          The key to any reply here is to consider what is truly best for the company and proceed with that focus in mind. Most Consulting firms will give up an employee to a good customer if the customer is forthcoming and offers something significant in return, such as payment for the employee and a commitment to a continued business relationship. In many cases Consulting firms welcome having an insider in the form of a former employee regardless of prohibitions in a formal contract. Outsourcing firms usually have a 90 day clause in their contracts while Consulting firms have longer intervals.

        • #3049969

          Agreed and well put

          by timbo zimbabwe ·

          In reply to OK, I’ll byte: Here’s how I’d handle it…

          “I don’t see this case as a crisis of conscience. Such a spiritual rift would only come into being when any one (or more) of the stakeholders choses to: (a) not act in good faith; (b) be untruthful.”

          I am in complete and total agreement with your response. Well done….

        • #3049383

          My concern would

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to True, but…

          be to not damage mine/the company’s reputation with a valued supplier. From the sound of it there’s a good bit of added value to yourself by dealing with such a recognised firm.
          So while I might agree to sound out the chance of an opportunity for a vacancy, whether he became available for it would be completely down to him and his current employer.
          As a consultant myself on occasion I insist on being dealt with ethically, but I can only claim the high ground in my dealings if I stay ethical myself and in my opinion said person is not being ethical. It’s always been my contention that anyone prepared to shaft someone else is prepared to shaft me as well.

        • #3049373

          Well said

          by amcol ·

          In reply to My concern would

          You can’t expect what you’re not willing to give. As long as we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of ethical behavior we can reasonably expect others to deal with us the same way, but if we’re willing to make excuses for ourselves we must make those same excuses for others. Then it becomes an issue of where to draw the line.

          For me, it’s always been a relatively black and white issue. The whole area of ethics can be highly subjective…there’s no codified set of ethical “laws”, and most of the time (to paraphrase a famous quote from the Vietnam era) we can’t define ethics but we know it when we see it. I made myself a promise a long time ago that I’d never do anything to give myself a moral, legal, or ethical dilemma, and like you I like to be able to claim the ethical high ground.

          I’ve never really made up my mind if the consultant’s behavior is truly unethical. All he really did, after all, was run up a trial balloon to see if there was interest in his pursuing permanent employment. He freely acknowledged my right to turn him down flat, which in a manner of speaking is exactly what I did…I told him that I couldn’t ethically have the conversation with him but if he wanted to pursue it he’d have to take it upon himself to bring his request into the bright light of day by going public with his current employer. That, in turn, is exactly what HE did.

    • #3048189

      Real world is often not this harsh

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      As several people have said, contract clauses or no, in many if not most cases a compromise can be reached. Whether the consultant talks to the client manager or to his own boss first is a matter of who he has the best working relationship with. It should be the one he most trusts not to use it against him.

      Quite a few consulting firms are more than happy to facilitate this kind of transfer, generally without compensation.

      After all, consider the up-side for them: They now have someone in place at a client firm who really likes them and will recommend them for future contracts. Someone who thinks like they do and will lead the firm in a direction that makes them a good choice for future contracts. Someone who knows them and will establish good working relationships with their consultants in the future. Someone who will tell all his friends what a great company they are.

      It would be a very foolish, short-sighted firm that would block its employees from going to work for a client.

      The worst feedback I ever got from my boss in this situation as a consultant was, “It would really hurt me to lose you right now because you’d be hard to replace. But I don’t want anyone working for me who feels stuck here, so you will go with my regrets and my blessing.” I liked that answer so much that I stayed on.

      It turned out to be a career mistake although there was no way to predict that. But I’m content with myself for being the kind of person who repays kindness with loyalty. The kind of person I’d want working for me.

      • #3049415

        Wow again

        by highlander718 ·

        In reply to Real world is often not this harsh

        get real, repay kindness with loyalty ? Are you kidding ? Soon enough we’ll be payed with smiles :-). What I want to say, is that you wouldn’t take a huge paycut for kindness, right ?

        • #3049372

          Pretty cynical response

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Wow again

          I don’t think DC Guy is kidding, and I congratulate him for his attitude. There are all forms of compensation. I’ve been in a position several times in my career where I chose to stay with a particular boss or a particular company simply because I liked the way I was being treated rather than take a much more lucrative opportunity. I’ve never regretted any of those decisions, especially because in the long run they worked out just fine…and I had no way of knowing that would happen at the time.

        • #3049183

          Idealistic ?

          by willisblag ·

          In reply to Pretty cynical response

          Having followed the thread for a while, its an interesting issue. It seems there are few hard-bitten cynics out there, but for me Amcol is on the money. No doubt it is an old-fashioned view nowadays, but at the end of the day it is the only correct stance to take. Act professionally and ethically and you will be above criticism. Anything less is condoning the nefarious politicking and vested interest lobby. Don’t moan about, how it is in the ‘real world’, if you are condoning it by your compliance.
          Re Worldcom etc, the lessons are out there.
          Refreshing to see people are still interested in ethics in business rather than ‘what is it worth to me ?’. Hey – and if there is any more cash floating around – I’ll take that too !

        • #3049160

          I would and I have

          by dc guy ·

          In reply to Pretty cynical response

          My current job pays about what I was making in 1990–and only in a good year with a generous bonus. But look at what I have:

          Job security. This firm even promised all of its Y2K recruits that they would not be let go, and they haven’t.

          Reasonable workload. Most days I actually walk out of here at 4:30. Overtime is not institutionalized. People are acquainted with their own children.

          Pleasant environment. People who are treated kindly treat each other kindly. No back stabbing, no ugly gossip. The last time I had this many friendships with co-workers was 35 years ago when we were all twentysomethings.

          You could probably argue that this is all due to good management, not kindness. I would say that good managers ARE kind because they know it’s key to their own success.

        • #3047675

          Good Long Term Thinking

          by sumjay ·

          In reply to I would and I have

          DC Guy, you have it on the money.

          Yes, being nice with employees as long as the profitability of the corporation is not dented too much, works wonders all around.

          The turnover rate is down, productivity remains high, working environment is pleasant that you are happy to go to work and don’t mind giving you best to the company. This is a truly win-win situation. This is my style too. This brings stress to manageable levels. Just sum up the intangible and tangible benefits.

          I know this may be a bit off topic, but I think Amcol handled the consultant issue very well. All this is possible as long as one does not maintain a rigid and non compromising attitude. Always have room for flexibility with open communication.

          Remember, as you sow, so shall you reap. Just do not burn bridges behind you (Diplomacy is the key). You never know, your survival may depend on that bridge still being there.

        • #3047630

          Happy employees = Productive employess

          by antuck ·

          In reply to I would and I have

          “You could probably argue that this is all due to good management, not kindness. I would say that good managers ARE kind because they know it’s key to their own success.”

          I think if they are smart managers/owners, they know being kind to there employees is crucial to there success.

          I once worked at a car dealership and the owner had this philosophy. His thought was if you treat your employees right they will in turn treat you right. He would always greet you by name and take time to talk with you. If you did something extra, you were always rewarded for it. The shop in return was a very successful shop. People would drive a couple of hours to do business there. It would never take much to get someone to stay late and the jobs were always done right the first time. Everyone got along great. Then one day the owner had a sudden heart attack and past away. The other partner came in and took over. Changed all the rules and took away the extras. Within two years the shop closed. His attitdude was I am paying you so do your job you don’t need anything extra. Everybodys attitudes changed and it reflected in the business.

          I still to this day belive if you treat your employees right they will give back to you as well. A happy employee is a productive employee and that is what you are looking for.

        • #3048474

          Totally Agree

          by craig_b ·

          In reply to Happy employees = Productive employess

          The key to life is to treat others as you would want to be treated. I believe if you put your faith in people you will be successful. If you put your faith in material things, the bottom line and that’s all you’ll end up with.

        • #3050370

          re cynical response

          by peterkryszak ·

          In reply to Pretty cynical response

          I was in a contract position where my tasks were complete, but there was a chance to go to work for the ultimate purchaser of the system, Company X. My employer carried me for a few weeks and was trying to place me in several opportunities. For that loyalty to me, they got to keep me on their payroll for three more months while I worked at Company X. After that, I converted to an employee there and everyone was very happy.

          The ultimate solution that amcol posted, seems like the most reasonable solution, and I’ve heard of several instances of just such and arrangement.

        • #3048463

          Take a huge paycut for kindness? I did.

          by jenkaal ·

          In reply to Wow again

          I was treated disrespectfully by my boss at another company. In addition, like so many others, I lost all my support staff and was expected to handle the work previously handled by 3 FTE’s, remained on call 24/7 to repair junky equipment which broke down frequently, and was paid very well. I left, taking a huge paycut, and I’ve never looked back. My new boss is respectful and reasonable, and while I don’t make nearly as much money, I can’t quantify how much happier I am. A lot. So is my family. I will stay here as long as they’ll keep me or until my current boss leaves.

        • #3047914

          I took a pay cut too

          by joey indolos ·

          In reply to Take a huge paycut for kindness? I did.

          Same thing happened to me twice. It’s not even a matter of kindness, just plain human decency. If you stay in a higher paying job that will eventually give you ulcers and a heart attack, let’s see if that higher pay will be enough to cover your hospital bills, not to mention the loss of self-esteem. It’s the sort of thing that’s covered by the term “moral damages”, and in lawsuit settlements, moral damages are often far higher than the portion covering direct damages, a recognition of the intangible value that peace of mind, self-esteem, and psychological well-being have. You only live once (with apologies to the Buddhists in the TechRepublic community) so why wait till retirement to enjoy life?

          That doesn’t meant that I’m impractical. I’ve also left jobs that I’ve loved because higher-paying ones beckoned. The last time was when I was a teacher; very satisfying job, you see how you help improve the lives of real people, rather than some cold corporate bottom line. But teachers are paid poorly in my country, so when there were medical bills in my family to be paid, I returned to industry work as a programmer.

    • #3048162

      Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Do it like IBM does it. Give me the head or we will cancel all of your contracts.

      • #3048148

        wonder if

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

        IBM’s consulting services feel the same way when its done to them?


        • #3047989

          Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

          by the admiral ·

          In reply to wonder if

          Heh. Most people just quit then go elsewhere doing other things. In some states, they can’t enforce the non-compete, so their ability to take action is very limited.

          But with that, chances are they do the same.

      • #3048533


        by alex.wilson ·

        In reply to Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

        You just hit that nail right on the head.
        good call. thats exactly what i would have done.

        the hiring agency giving up 1 person without a struggle, in this event saves them many many future contracts – which would be undoubtedly more lucrative to them, than a single person.

        fwiw, i have seen a similar scenario pan out, where by the agency wanted to sue. So the company terminated the consultants contract, the consultant set himself up with a new company, lets say ABC, Inc. and then got a 1099 direct with the company. after the 1 year grace period, he then started a permanent employee, with a 401k, etc, etc, etc.

      • #3048440

        My experience in dealing with IBM is…

        by it makes sense ·

        In reply to Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

        they’re quite prepared, on a case-by-case basis, to waive non-solicitation provisions with clients to preserve long-term relationships. I have yet to see them be unreasonable.

    • #3049413

      Above the table

      by bhunsinger ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      First decide if you want this person full time. Then contact the consulting company. and ask if you could hire this person. Usually, in a long term relationship this happens. They may ask for some money, but you can also take your business elsewere. When I worked at Pomeroy this came up reasonably often, and permission was granted if it was not a pattern of abuse.

    • #3049200


      by compliance dude ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I feel that you would have to stick to your contract. Contractual agreements are, in some minds, meaningless and they want to get out of them at the first sign of trouble or when it suites them. An agreement is an agreement. In my opinion there is no other decision. The consultant has to understand the ramifications of you loosing the consulting company that you have an established relationship with and the fact that they will likely sue if you are in breach.

    • #3049092

      Buyout Clause

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Most contracts have a buyout clause. And since most “consulting” firms function at some level like a temp agency, the path from “temp-to-hire” is generally open.

      As an aside, the firm I contract through is very aggressive about finding its consultants “permanent” positions when contracts are thin. A win-win all the way around.

      • #3048473

        Buyout Always on the Table

        by jm ·

        In reply to Buyout Clause

        Whatever your contract says, you can always pay to get different terms, and this is more or less standard. The amount may be one or two times the annual salary of the individual. So it comes down to a cost/benefit decision. I’d make sure you get a term contract with the consultant.

        Also, despite the fact they are prevalent in contracts, no-hire clauses are illegal in Calilfornia — check with a lawyer.

    • #3048517

      Honor the contract

      by dfuller ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      If I read item 4 correctly, the best way to handle this is to honor the one year clause, and use that time to determine if you really want this consultant as a permanent employee. If so, work with HR to create the opening after the contractual obligations have been met.

      I would suggest looking closely at the consultant before doing any of this, since he or she either does not know about the bidirectional aspect of the non-solicit clause, or has chosen to ignore it. It brings up ethical issues well worth considering.

      • #3048492

        More clarification

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Honor the contract

        The consultant in this case had already worked on behalf of the client company for several years, so when he broached the idea of signing on as a permanent employee the initial reaction was very positive.

        The consultant was also well aware of the non-solicit, which is one of the reasons he approached me very discreetly. I wasn’t too troubled at the time about any question of his ethical integrity (I’m still not) since he made it clear he was just floating a trial balloon, was perfectly willing to accept “no” for an immediate and final answer, and wanted to handle the whole thing in an entirely above board fashion. When I told him my first and strongest reaction was that we needed to stop the conversation and he needed to get the permission of his consulting firm to pursue it, he did so…and things worked out very nicely for all concerned.

    • #3048511

      What is the business need?

      by martin_ternouth ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      The situtuation described makes it sounds as if the consultant
      would be a nice-to-have rather than being required to fill a
      specific business need. Before going any further you should
      look at whether the prospective employee is a consultant, a
      contractor, or an interim executive on lease. If there is no job
      vacancy then you need to consider whether there is a permanent
      need for his or her services. Only when you have determined
      that should you tackle the issues around the negotiations with
      his current employer.

      • #3048489

        Good point

        by amcol ·

        In reply to What is the business need?

        In this case, as I said in my previous post, the consultant had been working on behalf of the client company for a number of years. He’d amassed a vast storehouse of business specific knowledge and had inculcated himself so thoroughly into the corporate workflow and culture that most people (both his peers in IT and his customers in the business) had forgotten he was a consultant and thought he was already an employee. Hiring him was a lot more than a nice-to-have.

        It’s been my experience that when a superior candidate presents himself/herself a smart manager will do whatever’s necessary to create an opportunity for that person. One can’t be constrained by artificial bureaucracy…we have jobs to do and results to accomplish, and if bringing on an additional resource can achieve goals faster/better/cheaper and it can be shown there’s an economic justification for doing so, then it’s a fight worth having.

    • #3048504

      win-win situation

      by reeves.herb ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I had worked as a consultant for a company for 5 five years when I made a comment about it felt like I was already an employee to one of the project leads. The next day, the project manager and I had a discussion about my plans for the future. Since I was unhappy with my firm, I told him that I was considering going to another firm. He suggest that they might be able to work out a deal with my firm if I was interested. The agreement was to ‘buy me’ by extending the service contract for another year. It was a win-win situation for all involved.

      • #3050335


        by kevin.shubert ·

        In reply to win-win situation

        In my experiences, I’ve been on all three sides – the consultant in the middle the contractee wanted to hire, the service provider in another situation, and a manager in a company looking to recruit a consultant.

        Usually, we were able to make it a win-win. In a situation very much like this one, we approached the consulting firm first, to see if we could work something out.

        Deciding that we did not need another head count, and having worked out a placement fee for the hire with the consultant group, we then replied to the consultant, and informed him that we would keep him on contract until a headcount opened up. We won by getting a seasoned pro we needed, the consultancy group used this as a sales point in the future, and the consultant is still there 5 years later.

        My experience has been that if something is presented as a positive for all involved, you can usually work something out.

    • #3048491

      Go for it…

      by newmanpx ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      The client company has to handle this as if it is their idea to hire this individual and take the lead here. They will have to approach the consulting firm and express an interest in hiring this individual and expect a buyout clause from the consulting company. They will no longer be able to engage in any further conversations (officially) with the contractor about employment, but will have to direct the consulting company to lead him in the proper course of action – probably where he will have to quit his consulting job on a Friday and be hired by the client company on a Monday. In no fashion whatsoever can the client company offer him a job or provide guarantees to that fact while he is currently an employee of the consulting company. All paperwork of the buyout has to be completed and signed between the two companies before anything is communicated to the consultant – and only the consulting firm can be the medium to communicate this to the consultant. That’s how I’ve seen this played out successfully in the past.

      • #3048485

        Not even close

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Go for it…

        Read the previous responses. Taking your approach would have put me as the manager and the client company, my employer, in breach of contract and opened up the probability of a major lawsuit. That’s beside the original reason for this posting, which was to examine the ethical implications of various courses of action.

        • #3048436

          Not black and white

          by tlea ·

          In reply to Not even close

          Not that this was the best way, and it did open the client up to a potential law suit, but the poster did say that they had seen this scenario successfully played out. I don’t think that there is only one solution to this problem. Quite a bit depends on the relationships of all the parties involved. The situation is not cut and dried.

    • #3048490

      uncertainty on ethics

      by david.planchon ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I’ve read most of these posts, and I’d like to add my two bits but can’t seem to without expressing anger…
      I’m a 30 year old IT pro with 10 years under my belt; my first 5 years were spent as a perm employee and the past 5 years as a contractor. All the consulting/contracting firms and clients I have worked for expect ethical conduct but are often not capable of reciprocating.
      Let me be specific here; over the past 5 years I’ve had “3 month contracts to perm”, “6 month contracts”, or just “contract to perm” positions. In every single one of these consulting/contracting positions I invariably ended up being at the client’s sites at least 18 to 24 months and never ended up with a hire offer.

      I read a post about “do onto others as you would have done to you” or something similar. Such a behavior is one I follow and expect from colleagues, but I’m jaded when it comes to dealing with “the institutions”. I am as Thomas, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve been burnt too often.

      • #3048484

        Several issues here

        by amcol ·

        In reply to uncertainty on ethics

        I understand your frustration, and it’s one of the reasons I posted this to begin with. I wanted to get a bit of a reading from this admittedly unscientific and biased sample group as to how this type of situation should be handled from an ethical perspective. There are far too many people and companies, to your point, that play fast and loose with ethics. Unfortunately there’s no ethical playbook, so it’s not like there are rules we can follow.

        Many times consultants are brought in as temp-to-perm with a specific time period mentioned, as you describe in your own situations. The correct approach would be to do one of three things at the end of the agreed upon period…either renegotiate the timeframe, or make the hire, or let the consultant go. The first option is rare in that one of the biggest reasons for temp-to-perm is to provide a months long interview, and if at the end of that time the manager in question can’t make up his/her mind as to whether the consultant should be hired there’s something dreadfully wrong. The only reason I can think of for not pulling the trigger one way or the other at the end of the temp-to-perm period is to take advantage of the situation in that the consulting fee is typically much less than a full hire, and that’s ethically repugnant.

        It’s incumbent upon you, however, as the consultant in the temp-to-perm situation to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of. I don’t know of any such situations in which the consultant didn’t have a choice as to whether or not to continue the relationship. If you take on a six month temp-to-perm and at the end of that time you don’t get a hire/fire decision but are just told things will go on as is indefinitely, you’re under no obligation to continue to play that game. If it were me I’d find a new gig.

        • #3048412


          by david.planchon ·

          In reply to Several issues here

          I think it is a very important discussion actually. One that ought to draw feedback from junior personel to CIOs.

          I totally agree but if I have to choose between puting a roof over my head and food in my plate and being happy at work the answer is obvious.

          It seems that the unfortunate truth is that in the United States in perticular there has been a perversation/distortion of what is acceptable about this whole topic over the past 6 to 7 years.

          It has become acceptable (in certain markets, especially the saturated ones) to take advantage of the consultants and contractors status as non headcount, “cheap” labor. I could be mistaken but if memory serves correctly it used to be that contractors/consultants made more money that perm staff pushing companies to eventually move them into permanent positions to serve costs. Nowadays that situation isn’t so true – I think.

          It’s true, once one comes to the conclusion that a “contract to perm” is simply trailing on with a status quo it’s time to move on. Easier said than done though.

          Holding onto contractors/consultants for long term open ended projects is just not ethical and in those circumstances companies should be “forced” into creating permanent staffing headcount instead of using contractors (at cheaper costs with no “tangible” benifits) OR should use a third party company to contract out the entire project staff. (EDS, IBM, HP provide helpdesk services) but having a 50% contract staff and 50 % permanent staff sitting side by side for years is, in my opinion, revolting and amoral for many reasons. Some members of the team having been on contract for 3, 5, even 10 years and were still waiting to be converted, and others being perm.

          Smaller companies seem to be more direct and much more willing to hire people. When they find a valuable asset they don’t want to let it go. A larger company -even if it states it wants to be “one big happy family”- doesn’t have the same need to create stability, career growth and loyalty. In the rat race, even ahead in the game one is still only a rat.

    • #3048480

      Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

      by projectsg ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I have been a part of this scenario so many times I can’t count anymore on both sides. With each employer I worked for it there was a different strategy that they wanted to employ. They ranged from defending the position to leveraging a fee to ascertain the services.

      I think the easiest approach is just think how you would feel if the consulting firm decided to extract one of your employees without paying a fee and leaving you one resource short.

      This really isn’t a big issue at all. In my mind there is a win-win solution if the consultant is allowed to move to the customer without initiating the “flight of fight” mechanism. The customer just has to realize that there will be a loss of revenue to the consulting firm and they SHOULD compensate that firm enough monies to bridge the gap between lost revenue (more importantly profit margin) and recruiting, retraining & mentoring another employee to go out and garner revenue. This can be done either by hiring another individual to backfill the consulting slot or paying a headfee roughly anywhere between 20%-30%)

      Remember, the cost of a lost FTE is roughly twice their salary in skilled positions. Those fees are miniscule compared to what that consulting firm will have to invest to find another employee.
      Also rember that the loss of a 1099 is roughly 1.5 X their pay rate, which is usually 1.3 to 2 X higher than an FTE’s hourly breakdown. Either way you slice it, it costs your consulting firm money and time and they should be compensated for that loss.

      I see a lot of people trying to take a hardline and saying they will pull there contracts, but that is just as unethical as taking the person without their knowledge. Negotiation at a table with all of the players is the best way to go after all the risks have been vetted.

      One last comment though, I saw that the “solution” was approved by two labor attorneys and an ethicist, but we do not know if they were presented the solution for approval or if THEY created the solution themselves. Very important information as I am sure I can find one hundred attorneys to approve the first solution posted on this site which is just as credible as THE ANSWER.

      There is no one solution to this problem, that I can see. I think there were some valid steps to moving through the process and it is just a matter of the following these priorities:

      1. Protecting the interests your company
      2. your relationship with the consulting firm (regardless of whether they are a employment agency or Big 5 consulting firm, they are there to protect you so it should be reciprocal)
      3. Your personal interests (curb your enthusiasm to add the talented consultant to your team roster)
      4. the interests of the consultant (who knows how long this person will stay with your firm, the consulting firm will be there to identify the talent to fill the spot once they vacate your position)

      • #3048427

        The right approach

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Reply To: Ethical Dilemma

        What you propose is exactly what happened…the client (me) had the client company (my employer) pay a conversion fee to the consulting firm equivalent to what we would have paid a recruiting firm for a new hire. Everyone ended up happy.

        There was never any discussion along the lines of “Let us hire this guy or else”. Quite the contrary…everything was out in the open, friendly, and business-like. Both the consulting firm and the client company realized this was just one transaction in a much larger mutually beneficial relationship, one that was worth it to both sides to preserve at all costs.

        To your question about the vetting of the solution, the two attorneys were employees of the company and had to sign off in advance. The ethicist is a colleague of mine of many years, someone who established and runs one of America’s leading business ethics consultancies. I presented this situation to him after the fact.

    • #3048478

      Cool heads prevail

      by projectsg ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I have been a part of this scenario so many times I can’t count anymore on both sides. With each employer I worked for it there was a different strategy that they wanted to employ. They ranged from defending the position to leveraging a fee to ascertain the services.

      I think the easiest approach is just think how you would feel if the consulting firm decided to extract one of your employees without paying a fee and leaving you one resource short.

      This really isn’t a big issue at all. In my mind there is a win-win solution if the consultant is allowed to move to the customer without initiating the “flight of fight” mechanism. The customer just has to realize that there will be a loss of revenue to the consulting firm and they SHOULD compensate that firm enough monies to bridge the gap between lost revenue (more importantly profit margin) and recruiting, retraining & mentoring another employee to go out and garner revenue. This can be done either by hiring another individual to backfill the consulting slot or paying a headfee roughly anywhere between 20%-30%)

      Remember, the cost of a lost FTE is roughly twice their salary in skilled positions. Those fees are miniscule compared to what that consulting firm will have to invest to find another employee.
      Also rember that the loss of a 1099 is roughly 1.5 X their pay rate, which is usually 1.3 to 2 X higher than an FTE’s hourly breakdown. Either way you slice it, it costs your consulting firm money and time and they should be compensated for that loss.

      I see a lot of people trying to take a hardline and saying they will pull there contracts, but that is just as unethical as taking the person without their knowledge. Negotiation at a table with all of the players is the best way to go after all the risks have been vetted.

      One last comment though, I saw that the “solution” was approved by two labor attorneys and an ethicist, but we do not know if they were presented the solution for approval or if THEY created the solution themselves. Very important information as I am sure I can find one hundred attorneys to approve the first solution posted on this site which is just as credible as THE ANSWER.

      There is no one solution to this problem, that I can see. I think there were some valid steps to moving through the process and it is just a matter of the following these priorities:

      1. Protecting the interests your company
      2. your relationship with the consulting firm (regardless of whether they are a employment agency or Big 5 consulting firm, they are there to protect you so it should be reciprocal)
      3. Your personal interests (curb your enthusiasm to add the talented consultant to your team roster)
      4. the interests of the consultant (who knows how long this person will stay with your firm, the consulting firm will be there to identify the talent to fill the spot once they vacate your position)

    • #3048466

      Non-solicitation means non-solicitation

      by nonsequitr ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I had this happen to me in the reverse. I sent one of my best consultants to a client and they asked the client for perm work after a time onsite. The consultant didn’t come to us, but went directly to the client. The client came to us and wanted to know if they could have her. We negotiated a deal whereby they paid us the remainder of her contract as compensation for taking her.
      Even though the consultant made the first move, it is the responsibility of the client to contact the consulting firm and then step away from the fray unless they want to make a deal.
      We brought the consultant back in and told her she could be fired for what she did and the client may not want her either. She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong even though she signed a non-compete/non-solicitation agreement when she came to work for us.
      My two cents…

      • #3048455

        Right, a lot of people ..

        by jhickin ·

        In reply to Non-solicitation means non-solicitation

        Don’t take this wrong, but especially younger people don’t really feel they owe their employer anything – even loyalty. Their reasoning is often that they wouldn’t get any notice if they were fired or let go, so why should they treat their employer differently. Older people tend to remember former days when you worked for maybe two or three firms in your entire career. Nowadays, we tend to jump ship every two or so years and it’s all but expected in our industry. In our own company, that’s just about the time they’re starting to actually earn their keep and we can’t afford the loss.

        Seems ethics has either changed definitions or lost its meaning…

        My own two cents …

        • #3048439

          Two way street

          by tlea ·

          In reply to Right, a lot of people ..

          Loyalty is a two way street.

          I personally believe in being loyal to the company I work for, but only after they earn my trust. Businesses have created this environment by treating workers as replacable units instead of people. Downsizing, re-engineering, layoffs, whatever you want to call it doesn’t exactly breed a feeling of loyalty.

          As for me, I have found a company that treats me well, and has shown that they are willing to deal with me and my family as people, not just payroll expenditures. I have been here 10 years and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

        • #3047835

          The Cost Of Ethics

          by seanbeougher ·

          In reply to Right, a lot of people ..

          I have worked in IT for a number of years and have found good companies and bad ones. The thing about ethics is that there is a definite cost for it. Short term, ethics are costly, but pay off in the long term. Unfortunately there are a number of companies where they have promised employees that things are great, that if they stick with it things will work out and they will be rewarded, only to go under a little while after and the employees left with no recourse. With those being well publized, so frequent and knowing people that that has happened to, it is hard to not be cynical. Also, in all these papers you sign when hiring on, you have to be a lawyer to understand and not given much time to read it. When you do read it, basically the papers all say, you will do all this, or else we’ll fire you. Nothing about what the company has to do other than pay you what they say they will. Does not instill a sense of security when you start somewhere. It really is up to who ever your manager is to give you a feel for the company and unfortunately to many managers are fearful for their job to want to risk displeasing their boss in order to make you life easier.

          One thing that always seemed humorous to me, if a company lays me off, they walk you out the door right away. No two weeks notice or nothing to find another job. If you leave for another position, you are suppose to give at least two weeks notice. How is that ethical or treating others as you would have them treat you?

    • #3048460

      I’ve had EXACTLY this dilemma ….

      by jhickin ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      First, you talk to the consultant and tell him HE needs to broach the subject with his employer. After and ONLY AFTER he’s done this, YOU talk to the firm and discuss terms.

      You’re probably going to have to *BUY* his contract from them. Even if they’re willing to let him go, they’re going to expect some compensation for the loss of a key employee. And they may or may not be willing to even talk.

      Consider all the options first, then talk. On a regular basis, when this happens, we tell the person that we have a contractual agreement that bars such moves, but if they at a later point, AFTER LEAVING their current employ, wish to talk, we will.

      On three occasions, we have hired men and women after they left and the contractual time was fulfilled.

      Ethically, you have to put everything on the table. If you can’t or won’t, you really need a reality check.

      I have my full-time “regular” job and my own business (totally unrelated in nature)I run both to the best of my ability with ethics – if there ever comes a point that I can’t or won’t it’s time to update my resume’ or retire.

    • #3048451

      Put the ball in the consultants court

      by tlea ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Being that the consultant is soliciting your organization for a job, I would think that he/she should get the blessing of his/her firm before any move should be made on your part. This puts the consultant in a potentially sticky situation, depending on whether or not he/she has a good relationship with his/her supervisor. If the firm gives their blessing to the potential move then, and only then should you proceed to try and open a permanent position for the consultant.

      This puts the consultant in a potentially volatile situation, but it is his/her decision, and it really seems to be the only way. If you start the ball rolling without the blessing of the consultant firm, this could be viewed as solicitation and a breech of contract. Not good if you want to maintain good a relationship with the company.

    • #3048422

      Give Him A Gentle Reminder

      by logos-systems ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Politely point out the clause in the contract, and let him know that if he brings it up again that you will have to report it the consulting firm.

    • #3050425

      Ethical Dilemma First Step

      by ed.gonzalez ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      The company receiving the request must ask the consultant whether he/she has a contractual (employee agreement) limitation from seeking employment from his/her company’s clients. If such is the case that is the end of the discussion.

      If there are no limitations, the company must ask the consultant to seek permission from his/her place of employment to approach the company. Only then can the company consider entering in any discussions with the consultant.

      This would not apply if the company posts the position and the consultant applies and is subjected to the same hiring due dilligence.

    • #3050423

      read your contract with firm

      by wizardofj ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      usually these contracts have a clause stating that if a consultant is hired as permanent, your company will pay the contracting company a certain fee, either a percentage of one year’s annual salary or a straight amount … not a huge problem, everyone is happy ( except maybe your company, cause it has to pay a lump sum fee, but then again, usually the salary is much less than the contracting company is getting, so it works out)

    • #3050422

      Makes No Difference

      by activated ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      The only point that matters is your no compete contract. You MUST not hire anyone without either getting permission from the consulting company, or waiting the period out on the consultant in question. If you go do not, you will both lose the contractor due to constraining order, a law suit will go against you, and you will not be doing business with your consulting company again. Also, you may get blackballed in the industry and not be supplied contractors by others who learn of you willingness to break contracts.

    • #3050350

      I’ve been there…

      by ungle ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      ..and what I’ve found is this:

      1. Discuss the possibility of hiring the employee with “those that matter”. If a position can be created (and you consider this employee valuable enough) good, if not let the contractor know you’ll consider hime when a position is available.

      2. ALL contract companies I’ve worked with have a “buy out” clause built into the contract. In other words, they’ll let the employee out of his contract for a price.

      3. Decide if, given the cost, the contactor is this valuable. After all, if you were hiring, you’d be paying a recruitment co. anymay (most likely)

      The thing to remember here is that there is a resolution that is both ethical and acceptable to all involved. You should not get invloved with hiring practices that are borderline unethical, it taints your future

    • #3050348

      Uninformed consultants

      by jakeyes88 ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I have been a consultant for 20 years. Every contract has a buy out if I want to become a direct. I would not sign the contract without it. I passed on a contract with a company in Arizona because they refuesed to include the buy out clauses. This was only a problem because the consultant did not do his homework before signing the consulting agreement. Too many none professional consulatants cause these problems.

    • #3050320

      How I would do it

      by bpasp ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      1. the contract clause is a non solicitation one
      2. for this reason it is not possible to approach the 3rd party firm and tell them the Co. has requested an offer; this would put the Co. in breach of their own employment contract.
      3. I would build a business case to present to the 3rd party firm, outlining my company’s benefits in switching the person to my staff; I would justify my rationale with a cost analysis.
      4. I would offer to the 3rd party firm to transfer other consulting assignments to them, in exchange for hiring their person in my staff.
      5. then I would outline in the business case substantial 3-5 year benefits for the 3rd party firm (1 less body, X new contracts with us).
      6. In essence I would negotiate a win-win-win solution, even leaving an option for the person I want to hire to still do part-time/mission oriented assignments for the 3rd party firm.

    • #3050271

      check you state law….

      by ittechexec ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      the non-solicit clause may not be enforceable in your state. Check local laws. I know as of 5 years ago, it was un-enforceable in NY. I cannot advise you on the other matters.

    • #3050258

      Hire away

      by robertgreenlee ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      The contract will specify an amount of damages should you hire, probably only $5k or $10k etc. Given the circumstances you should be able to work this out amicably with the consulting firm, especially since you’ll continue using them and they appreciate that.

    • #3050230

      What about the consultant’s ethics?

      by arjee63 ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Aside from proficiency, I would seriously question whether I want this person on my team. He or she has also already made a contractual agreement with the consulting firm, and now is approaching you to see if you would break your agreement. I’d prefer not to have people who take shortcuts, or dishonor obligations into which they willingly agreed, on my team. In all likelihood, they’ll just walk when they get a better offer. Who knows what shortcuts they’re taking with my resources?

      If it were me, I’d keep the intent as well as the letter of the contract, and diplomatically explain your situation to the consultant. Hopefully he or she will stay for the duration of the contract period.

      I’d also consider finding a staffing firm that is more flexible with temp-to-hire situations, or work with the current firm to change your contractual terms.

    • #3050168

      Check the contract

      by rogerf ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I’m not sure there is a dilemma. Here in Australia there we have similar contracts that stipulate that the ‘companies’ cannot solicit each other’s people.
      This does not stop the people approaching the relevant company. We have an additional condition of employment that prevents the employee from working for any company to which they have been subbed out for 12 months after the contract.
      If this person is worth it, check your contract.

    • #3050162

      You Have Help…

      by techrepublic ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Simply let the consulting company handle it. Notify the recruiter that the clause was breached. They are good at dealing with this kind of thing — that’s why you want to hire them in the first place.

      The consultant is aware of the clause. This is not a harsh solution. He/she is deliberately defying both your companies to attempt to fulfill a selfish desire.

      If you hire this person, you will have opened yourself to potentially years of pushing the envelope — the very thing that has caused your displeasure at this point. It obviously bothers you now.

      The solution is simple. Sometimes, we assume that we are being harsh when, in fact, the other person caused the situation.

      If this is allowed to continue, the same attitude will infest your entire team or workforce. Tolerated once, it breaks the teeth in your contract with the consulting company.

      You did not cause this, but please have the courage to fix it. Call the consultant’s recruiter immediately.

    • #3050141

      Ethical Dilemma

      by irwan_1000 ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Well, I am an consultant but I was in a reverse scenario: My client company approached me and offered me a permanent position. So I have a contractual dilema because my contract expressly forbid me to join client companies within one year or pay the penalty. SO I told this to my client and he said he will negotiate to my employers. But talks broke down because my client was unwilling to pay the finder’s fee. So the moral story is to check with the consultant concerned abt such clause and with the HR how much they are willing to pay finder’s fee. Then worry about ethical dilema

    • #3050127

      Everyone happy?

      by ChrisP547 ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      I would have to say that something can probably be worked out. It’s not a matter of law, but of ethics and good business.

      It seems that you, and consulting company, and the consultant have good relationships that you want to continue. There should be something that can be worked out with good-faith negotiation on all sides.

      You want to keep the consultant, as he does good work, you also want to keep the consulting company, as they have also been a good partner. IMHO, it is not in the consulting company’s best interest to keep a consultant who is not happy in the role, as he is more than likely going to be looking for full-time employment elsewhere if he is contractually constrained here, and they are going to lose him anyway.

      There should be a middle ground that everyone can be satisfied with. Of course, the first thing to determine is do you/can you bring him on full-time, and then approach whomever you have a good rapport with at the consulting company.


    • #3047900

      Non-compete and the law?

      by texas_gal ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Granted, as a student, I don’t have any experience in this, just what I’ve been learning at college. Courts have been finding on the individual’s behalf on non-competes when it prevents the individual from making a living in the area. If this person is unreasonably restrained from seeking other local employment it may be too strict. If he/she had to move across the country, or change careers or go through a lengthy period of unemployment to change jobs then it is unreasonable. But what company wants the expense of treading the lurky legal waters? Without a legal review it’s taking a chance. It could still backfire if lengthly legal proceedings drive up the cost of doing business. I would politely tell the consultant that the present working relationship as is stands now is valued, and that there are no openings at the present time. Let the consultant keep pursuing the matter by submitted an unsolicited resume and application through HR. If it becomes an issue in the future; a job opens up and the resume matches up, address the matter at that time.

      • #3047878

        The law is not the issue

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Non-compete and the law?

        Thanks for your input. Spend a little time reading some of the posts in the first half of this thread…the actual outcome of this situation is talked about up there.

        Although your points about the law are well taken you’re missing the theme of the discussion. This was not ever a legal issue. My original question was how should the manager ethically behave in this sitation. Although the contractual issues were quite clear there was, as there always is, some room for interpretation. That’s why the whole issue was not one of legality but of ethics. The manager had the latitude to go in several different directions…which was the best ethical option?

        You’ll find as you leave school and enter the “real” world that things are not so black and white as appears in textbooks. There are no hard and fast rules. Two plus two doesn’t always necessarily add up to four. That’s why it’s critically important to have a clear understanding of what constitutes ethical behavior as well as a framework for making situationally appropriate judgments.

        Don’t depend on the law, or contracts, or corporate codes of conduct, or any codified set of rules for that matter. A blind dependence on the written word may be a safe course, but with experience and maturity comes self-awareness and the ability to take action on the basis of professional judgment. Sometimes it’s okay to break the rules.

      • #3048910

        Most non-competes I have seen are unenforcable

        by royhayward ·

        In reply to Non-compete and the law?

        I spent some time as working in a contracting firm where we had our consultants sign non-competes. At the time they signed we know that in most cases the document was unenforcable. The way our lawyers expalined it was this. A non-compete restriction must either be narrowly geographically declared, or narrowly declared in a nich market.

        Say you can constain your employees from learning your bissness of selling cars, and then opening up a competeing car lot across the street, but they can go across town to another “Market” or they can go across the street and sell motercycles. Or probably different types of cars, say you sell mostly sedans, and they can specialize in SUVs.

        This is based on the individual’s right to make a living. I know this is not the discussion here. But it might be food for thought for another thread. I know that most of the non-competes I have signed over the years have been too vague or broad to really be inforcable unless I went out of my way to damage the company in question.

        As the lawyer who helped train us as consulting account managers stated. The document is realy for two pruposes. First to give an employee pause before he trys to leave to a client firm without talking to us, and to give us a lever to get money from clients when they directly hire our consultants.

        • #3049542

          Never discuss ethics with a lawyer

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Most non-competes I have seen are unenforcable

          Lawyers…ethical behavior. Night…day. See the connection?

          The two reasons your lawyer quoted as justification for non-solicits are both about money, not ethics. Heavens to Betsy…a lawyer more interested in money than ethics. How un-lawyerlike.

          There’s one part of what your lawyer told you that’s unfortunately at least partly true, and it’s one of the main reasons I posted this thread. It has to do with motivation. The first reason your lawyer cited was making an employee think before jumping. Ethical behavior should come from a more righteously lofty thought process. If I do the right thing because I’ll suffer some consequence otherwise, or if I do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do, one could say what’s the difference at least I did the right thing. In my view that’s a rationalization…taking the correct ethical action as a punishment avoidance approach means I’ve learned nothing from the experience and probably can’t be trusted to take the proper ethical action the next time another situation presents itself.

    • #3049820

      Advice for a consultant in this situation.

      by cq_west ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      Currently, I am in a very similar situation. There is a client that the firm I work for has an unknown need for a full time systems administrator. I have not yet approached the firm about full-time employment, but I know for a fact they could save at least 25% of their IT budget just by hiring a full-time employee instead of a part-time consulting house. Because I am a consultant, there is no formal job position available.

      Would it be wrong for me to approach the client while still working as a consultant and show them how they could save up to 25% of their annual IT budget just by hiring a full time System Administrator and would they consider me for that position?

      Would you consider this unethical behavior — because I know for a fact they could save tons of money?

      • #3049052

        Many factors

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Advice for a consultant in this situation.

        You don’t say if you have a personal services contract with your consulting firm, but if you do you need to read that first to see what legal constraints have been put upon you.

        You do say that your firm has a client with a possible need but you don’t say if you personally are consulting to that client. That may be a mitigating factor in that you are not directly involved with this client.

        You don’t say if your firm’s contract with the client includes a non-solicit, which is typically pretty restrictive and extends to all employees of both firms whether they’re involved with the account or not.

        All that’s the legal stuff, however, and doesn’t answer your question. The ethical action to take in this case would be to approach the account or relationship manager from your company who’s assigned to the client company and express your feeling that money could be saved by the client if they made a permanent hire to replace the consulting contract.

        You’d be taking a big chance by doing this, of course. On the one hand you may be rewarded for your insight and initiative, perhaps by being asked if you personally might be interested in such a position in which case your firm would release you and the client from any legal redress. On the other hand you may be branded a traitorous disloyal meddler, or at least viewed with suspicion as someone who’s trying to generate an opportunity for himself rather than working on behalf of his employer. Only you know what kind of relationship you have with your boss and your company, and what kind of corporate culture you’re dealing with.

        There’s no way a direct approach to the client company by you can be considered an ethical action.

        • #3048999

          I have done this successfully

          by chuuk_diver ·

          In reply to Many factors

          I recently was working on a project for a firm sub-contracting to a lead consulting firm. The sub-contracting firm had a reciprocal non-solicit agreement with the lead consulting firm.

          About 6 months before the end of the project, I initiated discussions with the lead consulting firm about the possibility of joining their staff as an employee. We had already established a good working relationship and it seemed to be a good move for both of us.

          When the project ended, we quickly came to employment terms and I started working there as an employee. Before I officially accepted the new position, I contacted the sub-contracting firm and notified them that I had initiated discussions with the lead consulting firm about the possibility of working for them as an employee and that we had come to terms. I wanted to give them an opportunity to make a counter offer and also to let them know that I had initiated the employment discussion, and not my new employer.

          Once I told them that I had initiated the discussion with my new employer, the sub-contracting firm knew that their hands were tied, because my new employer had not broken their non-solicit agreement.

          Perhaps the key to this is that I did not have a non-compete agreement with the sub-contracting firm.

        • #3049694

          Legal Agreements

          by cq_west ·

          In reply to Many factors

          I know that the only agreement that I have signed with my current employer is a non-compete agreement. However, this very same non-compete agreement was recently put under fire and deemed void for a former employee who started his own consulting firm.

          As for the client, I do not know if they have a non-solicit clause in their contract with the consulting firm. My guess is that the don’t, simply because many of the contracts are self-renewing unless a rate change or hourly change occurs.

          I work directly with this client on several projects, both as a systems administrator and as a senior developer. They have several projects that have been developed directly by me or by developers under my direct supervision. I have been reviewing the client’s needs and I keep coming back to the fact that they have allocated a specified amount for their IT budget and the consulting firm is currently forecasted to be 20% over budget by the end of the year.

          If the client were to hire a single systems administrator, the savings would easily reach 25% of their current expendatures. With that money that could implement much needed upgrades and replace old and outdated equipment.

          Plus, the organization continues to grow and their needs continue to grow. A part-time consulting firm is currently not keeping up with the rate of growth in the organization. This is the contributing factor in being over budget by almost 20%.

          I have a good working relationship with several of the managers in the client’s organization, including the primary contact for the contract relationship. I have not yet approached him about the savings, but I do believe they are becoming increasingly aware of the need for more support. Because there is no one on their staff trained to hire technical people, they will probably continue to outsource.

          As for the relationship with my employer, it has been good up to this point. However, I know for a fact that he would exhaust legal actions before he would come to any agreement. This is the biggest fear I have for the organization.

          However, if I approach them the only binding agreement is a non-compete that has been declared void by a dispute with a former employee. Would they be liable for soliciting because I was the one that approached them? That’s the question I have to consider.

          Thank you for your words of advice.

    • #3048833

      Answer to your ethical dilemma

      by sawdey2 ·

      In reply to Ethical Dilemma

      In most IT arenas, you are first hired as a consultant and have to work for a certain amount of time before being asked if you wish to become an employee. The offer is made by the company, and they should not be made to feel pressured by you… If the position is perm contract to perm, the employer will see and recognize you as a valuable asset and wish to keep you…

      Also, if there is not a current position for your duties, but your manager recognizes your talents, he/she will try to work with their HR personnel to make room for you, but again you should not be the one to push things.

      Just work to your full potential, show your talents to the best of your abilities, and have confidence that your manager will recognize what he/she has. All will work out.

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