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Purchasing a product made by your company's competitor

  1. Oct 24, 2009 #1
    This may seem like a stupid question, but is there any way a company can legally forbid or penalize its employees from purchasing products made by one of its competitor? For example, if I were to work at Panasonic, could they not allow to buy a PlayStation 3 even Panasonic doesn't make a video game console? If I were to work at Microsoft, could they not let me buy a Wii? Could, say, Dell keep me from buying an HP?
     
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  3. Oct 24, 2009 #2

    Pengwuino

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    As far as I know, at least in the US, you cant be forbidden to purchase anything due to your employment unless it's in a contract (say, Tiger Woods possibly not being able to use non-Nike golf equipment... then again I think even that is just at Tours). Even then, he can purchase anything he wants, he just has to use Nike during tournaments.
     
  4. Oct 24, 2009 #3
    Yeah as far as I know that wouldn't be allowed generally.

    Out of curiosity, is there any reason for the question?
     
  5. Oct 24, 2009 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    If you work at an assembly line for Ford, you probably don't want to be driving to work in a brand new Toyota.

    Not unless you have some real good insurance.
     
  6. Oct 24, 2009 #5
    Can you clarify what you mean by "that wouldn't be allowed"? So you're saying that, if I work for Panasonic, Panasonic can't bar me from buying a PlayStation 3?
     
  7. Oct 25, 2009 #6
    Well, I guess it depends on the law in your area, but where I'm from (Australia), I'm pretty sure most uncompetitive practices like that are forbidden by legislation.

    I'd assume it would fit in somewhere alongside "vendor lock in" and such, but I couldn't point you to the exact piece of legislation. If anything it would fall under some general category of unconscionable conduct.

    In layman's terms, it's dodgy, and I doubt any large corporation would get away with it without some serious weaselling. :P
    Haha! you make a very good point! :P
     
  8. Oct 25, 2009 #7
    In the USA, most employment is at will and as long as it isn't illegal, the company can force you to do pretty much anything as a condition of employment. If the company has a rule that says that you must show up to work wearing a chicken suit or be fired, they can.

    However, most companies don't have these sorts of rules because it just annoys people. In fact, at some companies that I've known, employees are *encouraged* to purchase products made by competitors so that they know what their competitors are up to.
     
  9. Oct 25, 2009 #8

    Chi Meson

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    As has been mentioned, any such rule would be specifically stated in a contract of employment, and I cannot imagine that prohibition from buying a competitor's product is ever done. Especially if your company doesn't even make the product. A rule like that can never be assumed to be in place without prior agreement.

    You know that there must be many employees of Microsoft that own Macs. First of all, they make software for the Mac, and second of all, where else would MS get any of their "ideas"?

    Usually companies encourage their own product by making them very cheap or even free to their employees
     
  10. Oct 25, 2009 #9

    BobG

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    They can't bar you from using a competitor's product for personal use. They require there to be a clear split between your personal use and your professional duties (in other words, you have to use employer approved equipment at work). This goes to personal opinions, as well as competitor's products (i.e. - you can't be penalized for writing a letter to the editor critizing your employer's products, but can be penalized for writing that letter and identifying yourself as an employee of the company).

    That's why many companies provide employee discounts. They make their own products cheap enough to their employees that they will choose to use that company's products. The effect is probably more applicable to things like cars, tires, etc. It looks bad if the Ford plant's employee parking lot is filled with Toyotas; if all the cars in the Firestone plant have Goodyear tires, etc.

    Clothing stores are good for that, as well. They can't afford to provide employees with a wardrobe, so they give good discounts so the employees wear clothes that the store sells.

    At one time, I had a job cleaning the bagging machines for a locally owned potato chip company. The owner used to walk through the lunch area and grill the employees. If they were eating the company's brand of potato chips, he'd ask them if they stole them from the warehouse. If they were eating a competitor's chips, he'd ask them why they had no company loyalty. Real jerk about those chips - funny thing is that he was a pretty good guy on all other issues.
     
  11. Oct 25, 2009 #10
    Unless you tell them, how are they going to know what products you purchase?

    I suppose that if you work at Los Alamos, they won't let you buy nuclear weapons from their competitors.
     
  12. Oct 25, 2009 #11
    That's what I was going to say. They can't make it 'illegal' or attempt to stop you from purchasing anything in your free time... They can stop you from using certain products or bringing them with you to work on the clock but when your not on the clock theres nothing they can do to you really... at least here in Canada.

    Most companies promote their own product to their employees at reallllllly great prices so it would only make sense for most of the employees to have their product. Like for clothing companies some places give upwards of 60% off.... restaurants you get free food sometimes or 50% off...
     
  13. Oct 25, 2009 #12

    Moonbear

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    You can, but you won't be allowed to park it in the large employee lot in front of the plant. You'll be assigned to park in a remote lot that isn't visibly associated with the plant.
     
  14. Oct 25, 2009 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    That sounds like a long way to walk...with two busted kneecaps.
     
  15. Oct 25, 2009 #14
    Not to mention the guard dogs they forgot to put back in the kenels...
     
  16. Oct 25, 2009 #15

    Monique

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    Steve Ballmer once reluctantly said that his children are allowed to buy Apple products with their own money, they just wouldn't be allowed to enter his house with them :smile:
     
  17. Oct 26, 2009 #16
    There are very few things that a company can make conditions on when you are outside of work and they have to prove that it adversely effects the company or your ability to preform your job. Owning a playstation 3 is not going to adversely effect panasonic or your ability to preform your job unless maybe you stay up all night every night playing video games or something. Theoretically if you were dressed in a fashion that made it plain to everyone you are a panasonic employee while shopping for Sony products they may be able to do something about that.
     
  18. Oct 26, 2009 #17
    What about if it was a Macbook with Windows Installed?
     
  19. Oct 26, 2009 #18

    Borek

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
     
  20. Oct 26, 2009 #19

    Pengwuino

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    .........

    *uninstalls Windows*.
     
  21. Oct 26, 2009 #20
    I thought he was going to start bringing people on stage and healing them.
     
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