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Ethical? Leaving my organization to join our hired IT consultant team?

By Mac_IT_Guy ·
Hi All,

I'm hoping some of you wiser, more experienced IT Consultants can lend some advice. I'm in a very sticky predicament.

I've been the IT Supervisor at a company for four years now. But I've been wanting to leave and go hourly for the past year, feeling underpaid, taken advantage of, and having hit the ceiling for advancement and knowledge.

I'm new to IT - switched from another profession - this Supervisor position is my first job in full-time IT.

The question is this: Is it unethical for me to leave my current organization to join a small IT Consulting LLC who serviced our organization for one project this year?

I've already given my four week notice, but regrettably and naively told my "old employer" too much info. They're now possibly threatening to sue my "new employer". My old employer says that this consultant should not have hired me - "a key player in the organization" - and that what happened was unethical. They say that I've created a conflict of interest, by helping bring in a consultant who later then "plucks the organizations valuable assets (employees)". This consultant was the most qualified for the initial project, which is why we chose him in the start.

The problem is my new employer says that just defending himself in court would put him out of business, since he's just a small shop trying to grow his team.

This consultant never came to me offering a job. I pursued him (quite persistently) once I heard him say that he was understaffed and looking to replace guys who left his company. After a few months and many discussions, he said I could join his team so I decided to do it. I've never signed any non-compete clause. Plus my new employer isn't a competitor, but a vendor.

Is my "old employer" justified?

I'm thinking of walking away from both companies in attempts to thwart any lawsuit from happening. I'll be jobless for a while, but I'm OK with that if it might help stop my old employer from suing the new one.

I admit I made mistakes. Hopefully I'll find another job soon and can just see this as a good learning experience.


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You know for all the freedoms

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Ethical? Leaving my organ ...

you guys fight and shout for and say you have.

In Europe , your current employer would be laughed directly out of court while paying costs. Not a leg to stand on...

So they are suing your new employer for being your new employer, in others words you aren't allowed to leave your employment.....

There's got to be something in your constitution that says that ain't on, surely.

No totally unjustified, not to mention utterly self defeating. I mean if they block your move, what exactly have they won? An unhappy employee with a big grudge, and if they choose to replace you at some point for 'disloyalty', lawyers will be falling over themselves to offer you their services.

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PS as for Ethical

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to You know for all the free ...

If what you have done is unethical, then outsourcing and 'selling' you to another company is unethical. Downsizing right sizing, reorgansing or just plain involuntary redundancy would also be unethical.

If they can bin you given four weeks notice, you can bin them.

If they can keep their delibrations about ceasing you as an employee secret, you can keep your deliberations to cease them as an employer secret.

Ethics is being fair after all.

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Scare tactics?

by Mac_IT_Guy In reply to PS as for Ethical

Thanks for your reply Tony. My feeling is that they're underhandedly using scare tactics to keep the rest of the employees from thinking of doing the same. This way they can scare their employees into staying, by making it hard for them to jump ship, and then underpay them in the meanwhile.

Does anyone else have any opinions?

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May be, and they might even post them

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Scare tactics?

Scare tactics? I doubt it. I daresay someone talked to a lawyer and asked if there could be a case, and shockingly the lawyer said yes. I mean those guys get paid either way don't they...

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Freedom goes both ways...

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to You know for all the free ...

That's why in America, you'd better watch what you are signing.

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Actaully form waht the guy said freedom does

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Freedom goes both ways...

not go both ways, they can do at they like, he's got to do what they like as well, and based on their interpretation. If he could sue them for selling him to ouitsourcing vendor, then that would be a little more balanced.

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Most 'non compete' clauses are beatable IF

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to Actaully form waht the gu ...

you can show that they restrict your ability to earn a living.

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I had a headhunter make the same claim.

by JamesRL In reply to Most 'non compete' clause ...

I interviewed with someone who had a job at a bank that had hired me on contract.

He thought I was great, and then he told me the name of the bank - and I told him what I had been told. I had worked through an agency, and that agency had a contract with the bank. The agreement was that the bank could not hire anyone who the agency had supplied for two years after the contract had ended. And because the agency had lost their status as an official supplier, the bank wouldn't pay any fees to a non supplier.

So I thought I was stuck and the headhunter thought he could get around it.

Turns out he consulted a lawyer, and it could not be done.

Now that isn't a non compete clause, but the "restrict my right to make a living" was the same argument the headhunter made.


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Your old employer is absolutely justified

by Tig2 In reply to Ethical? Leaving my organ ...

You likely signed a "non compete" agreement when you accepted a job with your old employer. That agreement likely says that you will not seek employment with their vendors.

Even if you did not, your employer is justified in making an "assumption of agreement". Generally every company has an understanding on these lines.

Going to work for a vendor who has worked with you and therefore knows you specifically is not generally considered to be ethical.

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Interesting, similar agreements are often signed in

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Your old employer is abso ...

Europe, but they are unenforceable under european law.

I'm pretty sure the guy said there was no competition, so so your point is sort of moot anyway.

I wouldn't have said absolutely justified anyway, legally justified maybe in US law.

Such agreements are far too one sided to be justifiable for anyone with an understanding of the word just.

That said I personally would not jump to one of my current employer's competitors, I'd be worried that my only value would be that I worked for the competition...

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