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Is this illegal/unlawful or just immoral?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ubersonic, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. ubersonic


    Joined: May 26, 2009

    Posts: 20,176

    Hey, company I work for had a guy leave the other month and it turns out that during his last month with the company while working his notice he was basically sending out quotations to clients as normal then following them up with a second cheaper quotation offering to do the work himself after he left. Some of the jobs he was supposed to be dealing with he didn't even send out a company quotation just his own.

    I didn't know you could do that lol, can you? I dunno if it's the type of dodgy stuff that people usually get sued over or just really immoral stuff lol.
  2. John40

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 22, 2014

    Posts: 2,207

    Unethical but totally legal.
  3. Hades


    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 20,855

    Location: Surrey and London

    It depends on his contract of employment. There is nothing inherently illegal about it. But he could be in breach of contract and therefore could be sued by his former company.
  4. billysielu


    Joined: Aug 9, 2009

    Posts: 9,810

    Location: Oxfordshire

    There's something in my contract that says I can't poach clients for a time. I don't know if it's the same for everyone, but it should be.
  5. peterwalkley


    Joined: Feb 23, 2009

    Posts: 2,712

    Location: South Wirral

    EDIT: Beaten to it.
  6. ubersonic


    Joined: May 26, 2009

    Posts: 20,176

    Cool, I always figured there would be a law or something to stop you stealing work from your own employer and getting paid to do it. I shall have to see how this pans out, fingers crossed if there is a flaw in the company rules or something they neglect to fix it :p
  7. Ayahuasca


    Joined: Apr 23, 2014

    Posts: 17,538

    Location: County Durham

    What a guy
  8. touch


    Joined: Oct 28, 2006

    Posts: 10,655

    Location: Sufferlandria

    Same. I thought this was a standard thing to include in a contract?

    If he was doing it before he left the company then it might also be covered under the IT policy and something about using company systems to conduct private business.
  9. McGray


    Joined: Dec 8, 2008

    Posts: 4,251

    I've had a court summons after accidentally breaching a non-compete clause in an outgoing contract.

    Lots of fun that was.
  10. Spunkey


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 13,487

    Location: The land of milk & beans

    Unless your employment contract was written by Kermit the frog, then I'm pretty sure he's in breach of contract and liable to legal action.
  11. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 58,219

    This. Although its a legal minefield and far from straightforward.

    Largely its unethical but depending on the conduct of the company I wouldn't blame some people for doing it. Without other factors though its pretty immoral.
  12. Greebo


    Joined: Jan 20, 2005

    Posts: 29,775

    Location: Co Durham

    This. Its one if the hardest things to pin on an ex employee no matter how good your contract is. WHich is why most companies just use it as a scare tactic and go as far as a solicitors letter and thats about it.
  13. dowie


    Joined: Jan 29, 2008

    Posts: 35,614

    as above it is probably breaching his employment contract

    I guess if he's claimed to have done something (like update some internal system to say he sent out the quotations) when he hasn't actually done so and has actually sent out those offers on behalf of himself then perhaps there is some sort of fraud issue there too which could lead to criminal prosecution
  14. stockhausen


    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 8,532

    Data protection breach?
  15. Pawnless Endgame


    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 9,927

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    There is probably another side to the story on why the guy left e.g. bullying / harassment. And then what he did during the final month was his way of getting his own back?
  16. AHarvey


    Joined: Mar 6, 2008

    Posts: 9,053

    Location: Stoke area

    To do this once you've left the business is risky, to do it while still employed by them and instead of their own quotes is purely stupid.

    He'll be getting a nice civil case brought against him where they try and claim for loss of earnings based on his actions.
  17. mrbell1984


    Joined: Aug 9, 2008

    Posts: 19,291

    Location: UK

    What he should have done is to compile a contact list then contacted them after he left lol. Big mistake poaching in works time.
  18. FoxEye


    Joined: Feb 17, 2006

    Posts: 18,486

    Location: Cornwall

    I thought I remembered a news story recently where most non-compete clauses were unenforceable? Obvs what this guy was doing whilst still being employed is probably a different kettle of fish.

    But if your non-compete stops you from working in your chosen profession for any length of time it's unenforceable.


    Q: Are restrictive covenants enforceable?
    In general, if you rely on a one size fits all policy when drafting restrictive covenants, it risks them being unenforceable.

    Certain restrictive covenants will be enforceable, if you are able to prove that they are:

    • reasonable
    • necessary to protect legitimate business interests; and
    • of a duration no longer than is necessary to protect those interests
    However, they cannot be used as a restraint of trade. If you try to deny an employee the right to make a living in their chosen industry or profession, this will be taken seriously by the court. For example, an employment contract that imposes a blanket ban on a person working for a direct competitor, even for a short period of time, is unlikely to be enforced.
  19. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 58,219

    The reasonable clause is where often businesses come undone - they often push for all encompassing measures and courts generally tend to rule on the side of unequivocal specifics when it comes to employment stuff.
  20. Uther


    Joined: Jun 16, 2005

    Posts: 8,231

    That's the way to do it.