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  • #2150281

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

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    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.

    Help!

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    • #2907873

      You know for all the freedoms

      by tony hopkinson ·

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

      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.

      • #2907871

        PS as for Ethical

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to You know for all the freedoms

        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.

        • #2907848

          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?

        • #2924048

          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…

      • #2913032

        Freedom goes both ways…

        by locrian_lyric ·

        In reply to You know for all the freedoms

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

        • #2913015

          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.

        • #2912279

          Most ‘non compete’ clauses are beatable IF

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Actaully form waht the guy said freedom does

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

        • #2912113

          I had a headhunter make the same claim.

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Most ‘non compete’ clauses are beatable IF

          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.

          James

    • #2907836

      Your old employer is absolutely justified

      by tig2 ·

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

      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.

      • #2924049

        Interesting, similar agreements are often signed in

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Your old employer is absolutely justified

        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…

      • #2924005

        Clarifications

        by mac_it_guy ·

        In reply to Your old employer is absolutely justified

        I didn’t sign any document such as a “non-complete”
        agreement. But really, you think the old employer
        justified?

        The employee hand book says to avoid prohibited activites
        such as “Owning, operating or being employed as an
        employee or consultant by any business that COMPLETES
        directly or indirectly with XYZ [our organization].” How a
        vendor (IT consultant) can be considered a COMPETITOR
        to the organization does not makes sense. Suppose my
        company was Disney – this clause really is intended to
        prohibit me from moonlighting for Dreamworks. The IT
        consultant provides a service to the client (my old
        employer), not completes with my old employer.

        Besides, doesn’t one have to break a law to be be sued,
        not just do something “unethical”?

        Thanks for your input.

        • #2923982

          They can sue for anything – doesn’t mean they’ll WIN

          by wayne62682 ·

          In reply to Clarifications

          Definitely scare tactics. Corporations try to pull this shit all the time; they figure they can threaten a lawsuit (after all in America you can sue anyone for anything) and cow your new company into not hiring you (since as you said if it went to court, win or lose, he’d probably go out of business due to legal fees), and then they can fire you later out of revenge.

          The most deplorable thing is that in America, companies have more power than the people they employ, and more laws protect nonliving entities than living, breathing people. Nonsense like this is par for the course along with ridiculous no-compete agreements, and yet nobody has the bollocks to stand up against it.

          Like Tony Montana says in Scarface: You know what capitalism is? Getting f*cked.

        • #2923975

          What would you do?

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to They can sue for anything – doesn’t mean they’ll WIN

          If I can confirm they are in the wrong, and there’s no wrongdoing on my or the consultant’s part, it’s VERY tempting to fight it. But this would surely ‘burn a bridge’ between me and the employer.

          What would you guys do in my situation? 1) Walk away from both employers, hoping it all just disappears and find a new job? 2) Stick to the plan and join the consultant, hope it doesn’t go to court – but counter-sue afterwards if it does? Any other thoughts?

        • #2923964

          Only you can answer that

          by wayne62682 ·

          In reply to What would you do?

          Personally, I don’t see it being unethical at all, but business as usual. Think about it like this: If the company found someone who would work for cheaper than you, would they consider it unethical to let you go in a moment’s notice, without any severance or anything?

          Remember that companies try to think it’s a one-way street, when it should be two ways. I would stick to the original plan. If you didn’t sign any sort of no-compete (those are largely unenforceable anyways, apart from scare tactics) then I doubt they’ll sue unless the whole goal is to bully the consultancy into not hiring you (under threat of going bankrupt via legal fees). And, if they DO go that route, then look at counter-suing them for their unethical practices.

          Also, I would never have told them where you were going in the first place; it’s none of their business. Give your notice, and that’s it. Who you go to work for isn’t there concern.

        • #2923847

          Yes, that’s true….

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to Only you can answer that

          Thanks for your reply Wayne. Yes, I know the decision is
          ultimately mine, and it depends on various other factors –
          including how much I’m willing to risk vs. being
          conservative.

          While they’ll probably lose the initial suit, the counter-
          suit may be another story. And I’d lose that, things would
          be worse.

          I admit it was a mistake to be too open with them, telling
          them where I’d go next. That was foolish, and I’ve learned
          my lesson for next time. At the moment I’m considering
          cutting my loses and with the OK from my “new
          employer” calling the deal off and seeking new work while
          going unemployed. This whole deal stinks. So much for
          company being equally loyal to a four-year loyal
          employee….

          Thanks.

        • #2923958

          You can be sued over anything

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to Clarifications

          The suit does not need to have merit, it just has to be brought. And it has to be considered the same way any other lawsuit is considered unless the person bringing the suit is considered to be a vexatious litigant.

          Whether a suit is brought or not, you run the strong risk of your name as a consultant becoming mud. And you have to decide what your professional reputation is worth.

          I blog for this site about a specific subject matter. Assume I write a story that TR doesn’t feel fits their guidelines. Can I sell that story to, say, Ars Technica? Legally yes. But the reality is that TR would be justifiably ticked if I did. And I would not risk my reputation by breaking the perceived code of conduct.

          Does that mean I can only write technology for TR forever? Nope. But I am bound to my commitment to sever the relationship first, then seek another relationship- preferably not with a competitor.

        • #2923845

          You’re probably right about “the reputation” aspect…

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to You can be sued over anything

          Thanks TiggerTwo.

          What you say may make sense, unfortunately in my case –
          despite the fact that I feel they are in the wrong – I don’t
          want to muddle my future reputation.

          Had I known all this beforehand, I wouldn’t have brought
          this consultant in to service our company, despite the fact
          that I thought he we as the best for the company’s needs
          at the time.

          And unfortunately the organization’s owner has a history
          of being very litigious, and supposedly (according to HR)
          he wins nearly every case – sometimes because he drags
          on for 10+ years.

        • #2913031

          “Harassment lawsuits”

          by locrian_lyric ·

          In reply to Clarifications

          These happen all the time. Ask any insurance company.

          I also had this happen to me on a personal level.

          The amount I was being sued over would have been dwarfed by the legal expenses incurred fighting it.

          So, it cost me about 15,000 to make the idiot go away.

      • #2924827

        I disagree

        by sterling “chip” camden ·

        In reply to Your old employer is absolutely justified

        Vendors hire from their clients all the time in our industry. Usually the vendor seeks agreement from the client, in order to preserve the vendor/client relationship, but even failing that I don’t know how you can say that going to work for a vendor is unethical.

      • #2911246

        Your old employer is absolutely justified – NOT!!!

        by cranewest ·

        In reply to Your old employer is absolutely justified

        The consulting company is a vendor hired to provide a service, NOT a competitor. I know of an enginner who left a former company we worked for, and started his own consulting company providing services to this former employer. He has provided similar services to other companies without being threatened.

        Sound like MAC_IT_GUY former employer is a control freak with a child like, “mine, mine, mine.” type attitude.

        The company that he works for that discorages/bullies employees from leaving via threats, and lies need to be taught a lesson.

        If he is/was an at-will employee I fail to see the problem.

    • #2923957

      At my company

      by w2ktechman ·

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

      the policies are pretty set in stone. If you leave, you cannot work for a vendor that has a contract with the company for 6 months. After that timeframe, they do not have a leg to stand on.

      Also, keep in mind that California is an At Will employment State. They can pretty much fire someone for no reason, and you can leave for no reason. Which is funny that many companies started moving to a 4 weeks notice (previously 2 weeks) when you leave. However it is still a courtesy.

      As for if they have the ability to sue, yes.
      Will they win — not likely unless there aer rules for leaving such as at the company I work for.
      I will mention however, that I see many people come and go between the place I work and other companies with contracts with us. The rule is there, but I dont think anyone pays attention to it.

      Anyway, look over the materials that you signed when hired. Also, you may be able to ask this directly to the Legal or HR department at your company. They may be able to explain it to you better, with the company rules. If there is a clause that makes you wait a period of time — then wait!
      Personally, I think the company is toying with you for some reason.

      • #2923710

        the organization policies are not clear (for vendors)…

        by mac_it_guy ·

        In reply to At my company

        Thanks w2ktechman for your reply.

        In my reply above called “Clarifications”, I described a
        section the employee handbook which outlines terms but
        they don’t seem to apply to vendors, but only
        COMPETITORS.

        Unfortunately our small company of 50 staff has a
        psuedo-HR / Office Manager who will always side with
        the big boss. I might try to see outside legal advice.

        The company is “toying with me”, because they’re upset
        that I’m leaving and leaving the company “without IT
        support/protection”. The remaining last IT person
        (assistant) gave notice two days before me. Sorry for
        them, but after 4 years the time for me to leave is right
        and I need to look out for myself too.

        • #2923708

          I agree,

          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to the organization policies are not clear (for vendors)…

          you need to look out for yourself as well. 4 weeks is enough time for them to find someone as well. If they spent the time looking rather than threatening, maybe theywould find someone quicker!
          And from their tactics (as described) they might not be the right place to be at anyway.

        • #2913251

          Ha, I bet if you’d gone in the office

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to the organization policies are not clear (for vendors)…

          and said look we are a bit lean on the IT front, you ought to get someone else in case I walk under a bus.

          They would have done nothing….

          From what I understand in the US, they should be patting themselves on the back with four weeks. Last time I did one man shop, my notice period was 3 months……

    • #2923800

      Curious…

      by boxfiddler ·

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

      Would this even be ‘an issue’ for you if you hadn’t let the cat out of the bag?

      • #2923711

        Yes.

        by mac_it_guy ·

        In reply to Curious…

        And that’s the part I mean when I said I regrettable and
        naively told them too much info. So now I know that was the
        first mistake, but what is now done is done….

    • #2913046

      to be honest

      by jck ·

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

      If:

      a) You had no contractual agreement not to go to work for any employer that services your “old” employer, and…

      b) Your “new” employer had no contractual agreement not to hire persons from within your “old” employer’s staff.

      I don’t think they have a legal leg to stand on. You should talk to an attorney.

      I believe that you have the right, with proper notice, to leave any job and go to any other job you wish so long as you are not legally bound not to do so by contract or other legal apparatus.

      I think you should call an attorney, along with your potential new employer (if they didn’t have an agreement not to hire you or anyone else).

      You may be able to get your old employer for harassment, and your new employer may be able to get them for damages if they tried to keep you from legally pursuing a position with their company.

      • #2912556

        An attorney to help explain my rights

        by mac_it_guy ·

        In reply to to be honest

        sounds like my next steps.

        a) I signed no contractual agreement like you described. In California, non-compete agreements aren’t even legal (again, this is not even a competitor).

        b) The only contract the new employer signed was one outlining “Descriptions of Services” for a project – with nothing related to hiring employees etc.

        Court might be tough, since there were no official papers from the old employer filing a suit. Only their talks with me, and their way of manipulating the facts to make me and the new employer emotionally distressed.

        But yes, I’d like to find an attorney just to help clarify what is true and justified in this situation.

        (Thanks for your reply, btw)

        • #2911926

          no problem

          by jck ·

          In reply to An attorney to help explain my rights

          One other thing you might discuss with an attorney: find out if recording of individuals requires knowledge of both parties or not.

          If you were to have a talk again with your old employer and could record them stating anything indemnifying without jeopardizing your legal standing for tort, you might be able to make a case easier.

          It’s underhanded, but it would be one way to go.

          The other is to go to work for the new guy, but only if they have a long-term contract with clearly stated goals, objectives, timeline, milestones, etc. If so and the old employer were to just end the contract without cause, your new employer could probably sue them for breach of contract.

          But definitely, talk to an attorney. Find out your options.

        • #2912717

          thanks jck

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to no problem

          YES – talk to an attorney. I’m already doing that. I’m not sure if I want to go to court for over a year with this (which the attorney said it might take), but at least it will give me peace of mind to know my options, and maybe some closure.

    • #2913042

      depends

      by gsg ·

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

      We put in all of our contracts with vendors and consultants that they cannot “actively recruit” any of our employees.

      Having said that, our employees are free to apply for positions, and several have been hired by our vendors.

      Sueing to block employment sounds more like a bluff. It’s expensive, and rarely works. Besides, unless you have a non-compete agreement, they can’t do anything.

      I’d tell them to piss off… Wait, that’s exactly what I did when I ran into the same situation. I’m still happily working in the “new” job 8 years later.

      • #2905055

        the consultant signed no such contract with non-recruitment clauses..

        by mac_it_guy ·

        In reply to depends

        …and my attorney reviewed the handbook and said the non-complete clause was absurd. It was so broad it basically meant I could never work for any competitor in any state for the rest of my life.

        So it wouldn’t hold up in court, but just the threat of a suit was still enough to scare the new employer. This was probably the old employers original plan all along…

        Bad business.

        Thanks for your reply, btw.

    • #2912564

      Well, now I have NO job….

      by mac_it_guy ·

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

      Thanks for all your replies. So it turns out that just by coincidence my new employer yesterday said he lost some clients last week, and now there’s no work for me to join him in doing.

      My old employer manipulated the situation to work in their favor, and got their way.

      I knew leaving full-time for consulting was a risk in stability, but I never even had a fighting chance after how my old employer behaved.

      There were no formal terms in any contracts (old and new employer) that justified the old employers case. But just having to defend himself – and even win – would break the employers bank, so he retreated (understandably).

      Four years of blind-loyalty gets me this. Unbelievable.

      • #2912552

        It wasn’t your four years, it was your last act.

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Well, now I have NO job….

        The agreement between the consulting firm and your previous employer is a contract – and often both sides look for an advantage in a contract.

        From your employer’s perspective, you were potentially bringing inside information and using it for your advantage with the consultant. They don’t see that as loyal.

        I feel for ya, it never easy, but you are responsible for your situation, in not anticipating your employers potential reaction.

        Never ever ever give notice until you have a signed job offer in your hand. Ever.

        Personally I wouldn’t play it like your employer. Some former employees from here now work for our customers, and thats fine. But not all workplaces are like mine.

        James

        • #2912299

          My employer selected the consultant, not me…

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to It wasn’t your four years, it was your last act.

          …I just saw an opportunity and took it. Wouldn’t everyone?

          No one signed any agreements which would prohibit my hire. I’m employed “at-will” and can work for any service vendor I chose. The state of California doesn’t uphold non-compete agreements (which doesn’t apply to vendors anyway).

          Out of the 4 or 5 consultants they had me call in for interviews, THEY chose this one since liked his price, and the fact that only he had the apple certifications and best qualifications for the office.

          Yes, I’m responsible for making the error in telling them where I was going to. This was in their interest to reassure them that I’d still be accessible and available for questions or help. My mistake was thinking their reaction would be happy since I would take care of them, since I wouldn’t be “far away”.

          But yes, I admit it was too trustworthy to accept a new job without signing an offer letter. In my previous profession, offer letters were sometimes signed on the first day of employment.

          But I still believe the old employer slyly blocked me from advancing my career by causing me lose this next job. Not all employers might be as good and fair as you…

        • #2912289

          Timing is everything….

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to My employer selected the consultant, not me…

          I’m sure they felt uncomfortable with the fact that their consulting firm would now have a source of inside knowledge, and might take advantage of that in the consultant’s favour.

          The consultant on their other hand, had to chose between you and your employers revenue. Its is quite likely that the consultant may have signed an agreement that they wouldn’t hire any staff from the firm – thats pretty standard in contracts these days.

          So I’m not suggesting you were unethical, but the consultant may or may not have potentially breached a contract, or a verbal understanding. They should have known better.

          How many firms get around this is by suggesting that you find a short term contract at a third company after you leave the first. Then after you finish the contract, you approach the consultant and everything is ok.

          You’ve hopefully learned a lesson, unfortunately the hard way.

          James

        • #2912234

          Definitely a hard lesson….

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to Timing is everything….

          Thanks for your insight. The information about how many firms get around this complication is very helpful for the future.

          I also learned a lot about who to trust (or not)….

        • #2911924

          i’m not sure I understand, James

          by jck ·

          In reply to It wasn’t your four years, it was your last act.

          [i]From your employer’s perspective, you were potentially bringing inside information and using it for your advantage with the consultant. They don’t see that as loyal.[/i]

          If he went from staff employment to working for the consultant…working in the same environment…doing the same work…at the same location…how does that harm them?

          He would still be delivering product in the manner they are accustomed to without leaking their “secrets” to a competitor.

          And IMHO if there was blame to pass around, his employer should be also at fault for a) not having him sign a non-compete to keep him from leaving, b) not paying him enough to keep him there, and c) not having him sign an NDA so he couldn’t give away secrets without losing his arse.

          I wouldn’t act like his employer either, but I see them as having had the advantage and lost it by not suring up their end of things and keeping him happy and in their employ. Then when they didn’t, they went to underhanded politicking to hurt him and intimidate his new employer from hiring him.

          But, welcome to modern business. Right?

        • #2911917

          A number of issues…

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to i’m not sure I understand, James

          Like I said, I wouldn’t do what his business did. We have a number of people who have left my current employer and came back, and thats happened at previous employers as well. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

          What the employer would be concerned about is inside information – that the consulting firm might use to get more work, or higher pay or whatever. I’m presuming, and it may be a presumption, that this consulting company wasn’t an outsourcing firm but a firm that provided analysis and planning advice.

          I’m not suggesting he shouldn’t have taken the opportunity, just that he should have anticipated that his current employer might have an issue with it.

          And this is modern business, this is I think is more representative of old school thinking. Fifty years ago this kind of thing would happen all the time.

          James

        • #2912871

          lol

          by jck ·

          In reply to A number of issues…

          [i]And this is modern business, this is I think is more representative of old school thinking. Fifty years ago this kind of thing would happen all the time.[/i]

          Trust me…without an ironclad contract…it happens more than you know…at least where I’ve been employed. Whether at a departmental or organizational level.

          Rotten apples never cease to exist…because new ones fall off the tree daily. 😉

        • #2912723

          What kind of “secrets” could I give away??

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to A number of issues…

          The setup we have at the old employer is simple and standard, almost archaic – we don’t even have a raid5 or Open/Active Directory! The reason “we” hired the consultant was because his knowledge and experience would help bring the systems up to date. There is nothing our company possesses that would help the consultant profit.

        • #2912719

          THANK YOU – FINALLY!!

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to i’m not sure I understand, James

          Someone (jck) understands what I’m trying to get across. I’m to blame for being naive, not savy, etc – but my old employer definitely did all A, B, and C in jck’s post.

          The laywers call what they did “intentional interference with [my] economic progression”, meaning, they blocked me from advancing my career (likely out of insecurity and spite).

          A good employer would have said, “Wow, that’s awful for us. We aren’t happy, we’ll miss you, but no, we won’t pursue any legal action because you never signed A,B, & C. Don’t worry about it and good luck to you”. Instead, they said, “We’re on the fence with retaliating with [suing] your new employer. You have 10 days to get your ducks in a row [get a signed offer letter – most likely to help them win their case].”

          They manipulated me to feel insecure in losing my job opp, hoping I’d deliver this message to the new employer, which of course I did out in a proactive attempt of self-preservation. I don’t fault the new employer for “conveniently” losing clients that same week. If my family, employees and future were at stake, I’d probably do the same.

          Still, a solid and hard learning experience. Ouch.

        • #2912638

          it’s just really sad

          by jck ·

          In reply to THANK YOU – FINALLY!!

          Honestly:

          You should, if an attorney won’t see you have a case and take you pro bono (put some junior legal member on to handle your case)…look into going to your State’s Attorney General with the issue.

          Workplace harassment needs to be stopped. If you could prove your case and an attorney won’t take it, use the state system to get justice.

          I really wish you well. I’ve seen this happen before, and it need not be tolerated.

        • #2913792

          thanks again…

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to it’s just really sad

          …for your input. I found an employment lawyer who’s helping me evaluate options for this case. Meanwhile I’m now looking for a new job to replace the one(s) I’ve lost. The impending gloom of our job economy makes me nervous, so I hope to find a new job fast.

          Also – thanks to everyone else for their input too. It’s been very helpful to get outside, honest, non-partial opinions on the matter.

          Thanks for your well-wishes and I wish you all the best too!

        • #2917937

          Exactly!

          by seanferd ·

          In reply to THANK YOU – FINALLY!!

          This is the part I have such a hard time with: Your boss’ insane little Ballmer dance. Even if he wanted to lock you in, he could have been reasonable about things, “Sorry, but I don’t really think you can do that.”

          Instead, he goes on a threatening-spree, which, I personally feel, should release you from any non-compete, real or implied. Not that this is how the law works, but you should be able walk, and find employment, wherever you like. Now, if you were privy to some type of company secret, and you used that secret for your own benefit an that of your new employer, and your previous employer could prove it in court, then they’ve got something. All this junk about binding people to some corporate will to potentially prevent something someone might do in the future is just bunk. They may have legal control over their own secrets, but they should not have control over your person or any other business just because you might know something that could be used to someone else’s advantage.

          The old boss probably isn’t really concerned about it anyway, he’s just using the threat of legal action over this as a bludgeon.

        • #2917679

          Yes, insane this whole mess…

          by mac_it_guy ·

          In reply to Exactly!

          …and as I said in previous replies, there’s no ‘trade-secrets’ to give away. This company is a simple graphic design and illustration company – nothing special or unique about their services other than it’s standard corporate design work for graphics and branding.

          Since I’m no longer able or can work for the new employer (consultant firm), my old boss can’t (or shouldn’t?) even try to sue him anymore. But of course I’m going to leave regardless because after what he did I have no trust or respect left for him anymore. So he loses me anyway, and it’s very tempting to let his other employees see what he did by having them read this thread/post….but I’m just going to try and move forward and let this go.

        • #2917661

          Information is power

          by sterling “chip” camden ·

          In reply to Yes, insane this whole mess…

          There’s no reason you couldn’t email a link to this thread to the former coworkers that you care about and trust.

        • #2917618

          Good luck to you, Mac

          by seanferd ·

          In reply to Yes, insane this whole mess…

          I hope someone recognizes your skills and value soon, and that your next work environment is better, with better compensation as well.

        • #2917617

          Chip – Not a bad idea.

          by seanferd ·

          In reply to Yes, insane this whole mess…

          Perhaps others might consider doing the same with this thread, or other employment-situational threads as well, if similar circumstances arise.

        • #2911721

          I would…

          by zaferus ·

          In reply to Yes, insane this whole mess…

          I think too many good people let companies stomp all over them when it suits them. And the worst of it is that most of these people walk away and just take it.

          Something similar happened to me some years ago (in how my employer acted not the same situation) and I just walked away and let it go. But I wish I would have stood up and made my employer realize that there can be consequences to acting like that.

          You know you’re not going to be getting any good references from your employer, and they acted with extremely bad taste. I think if you don’t stand up for yourself here you’ll regret it also.

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