Whose Ethics?

  • #76
Evo
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Astronuc said:
As it turned out, I stayed on for almost 10 years, and left over an ethical impropriety on the part of a senior manager. The other part was that our division got bought by a larger company, which had a rather obnoxious and overbearing management structure. It helped that two other organizations (one a competitor, the other a major client) wanted to hire me, and I worked out a deal with which they were both comfortable.
At my current and former job I had to sign a non-compete and an "intellectual property" agreement. Basically I had to agree that any ideas I have that aren't previously patented by me or otherwise documented can be claimed by them if I leave the company. :bugeye:
 
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  • #77
Astronuc
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Evo said:
At my current and former job I had to sign a non-compete and an "intellectual property" agreement. Basically I had to agree that any ideas I have that aren't previously patented or otherwise documented can be claimed by them if I leave the company. :bugeye:
Yep, I had to do the same thing, with my current and previous jobs. Actually, I have told the president of the company where I now work that I will exercise an option to take equity in the company. I work with a great group of people, including several from the same department from my old university.

At my previous job, I had the clause modified limiting it to the technical fields in which the company was working. In other areas, I was free to do my own R&D and retain all rights, title, interest, etc. I have a lot of stuff on the back burner, so to speak.
 
  • #78
Just out of highschool when I got a job at a Blockbuster Video they actually made me sign a contract stating that I would not work at another video rental store for at least a year after leaving employment with them. I thought that was rather extreme for just being a rewinder jocky. I often wondered how they could even enforce that.
 
  • #79
Astronuc
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TheStatutoryApe said:
Just out of highschool when I got a job at a Blockbuster Video they actually made me sign a contract stating that I would not work at another video rental store for at least a year after leaving employment with them. I thought that was rather extreme for just being a rewinder jocky. I often wondered how they could even enforce that.
That is standard business practice. They have to apply uniformly or face a charge of discrimination. You could easily have been exposed to their proprietary business practices (assuming they had anything unique - and I am sure most practices are universal). Basically, companies want to maintain any competitive edge over the competition. It is enforcable, but probably expensive, but the company retains that right at their discretion.
 
  • #80
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wow, after reading these posts, I'm very fortunate to work at a great company. They are very family oriented, and a good group of people. (and brilliant)
 
  • #81
Evo
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TheStatutoryApe said:
Just out of highschool when I got a job at a Blockbuster Video they actually made me sign a contract stating that I would not work at another video rental store for at least a year after leaving employment with them. I thought that was rather extreme for just being a rewinder jocky. I often wondered how they could even enforce that.
What exactly was it they were afraid you would do?

Like in my job, I'm not exactly privy to trade secrets, it's ridiculous. Although my client base was of primary interest at both companies.

Astronuc, you would have much more to lose/gain than me. Cool that you were able to negotiate that, I don't think companies have a right to your mind. :devil: Of course if you take something of theirs and expand upon it, it's theirs, by rights.
 
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  • #82
Evo said:
What exactly was it they were afraid you would do?
I don't know if you have them out there but a chain called Hollywood Video was started up by a group of disgruntled ex Blockbuster employees. Apparently they used the knowledge they gained working at Blockbuster to start it up and there are several similarities between the two.
 
  • #83
Moonbear
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Evo said:
This sounds like more of a "personal" request than a business directive. The two are not even close. Which is it? If it's a personal request, then it's ok to do what she believes is right, if it is a business directive, then unless she decides to quit and inform Bill, she would be violating her company's trust.
They forgot the obvious way to handle the situation. If someone comes to you and asks if you can keep something a secret before they've told you, don't agree to keep the secret "no matter what." Put a condition on it. Say something like, "As long as it doesn't involve hurting yourself or others or anything illegal," or, "I really can't promise that without knowing more." I learned this way back when being taught how to counsel students who might come in with social or psychological issues...you had to gain their confidence, but without making promises you couldn't keep, such as promising you would keep the entire session confidential and then learning they were thinking about suicide, which couldn't be kept confidential (we wouldn't be broadcasting on the news, but I would have to report it to someone better qualified to get them the help they needed, including possibly calling the police if they were really a threat to themselves or others).

Again, even with the additional information about the scenario, the problem is still bad management. The manager does not need to tell Sally that Bill is going to get fired just to get Sally to learn more of Bill's job before he leaves. Instead, the manager could tell Sally something like they need to have people who can cover for various jobs in case someone is sick or leaves, so she should start learning some of Bill's job. Actually, telling Sally that she needs to learn the job to be her friend's replacement when her friend is laid off only makes it sound worse! With that being the reason for disclosing the information, I might be inclined to send out my own resume and choose the "or you can leave the company" option.
 
  • #84
Moonbear
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Astronuc said:
That is standard business practice. They have to apply uniformly or face a charge of discrimination. You could easily have been exposed to their proprietary business practices (assuming they had anything unique - and I am sure most practices are universal). Basically, companies want to maintain any competitive edge over the competition. It is enforcable, but probably expensive, but the company retains that right at their discretion.
I had heard those non-compete clauses were not enforceable, at least not if they terminated your employment (I'm not sure if they're enforceable if you leave voluntarily). Basically, they can't stop you from seeking employment elsewhere once your employment with them is ended, especially if you're in a specialized field and their competitors are the only ones you can work for.

I think if I was ever faced with a contract stating something like that, I'd ask for modifications to make it clear that if they laid me off, the clause no longer is enforceable, only if I quit (I can understand the reasoning there, so that you don't get lured away by the competition with higher salaries to persuade you to reveal company secrets).
 
  • #85
Evo
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Moonbear said:
They forgot the obvious way to handle the situation. If someone comes to you and asks if you can keep something a secret before they've told you, don't agree to keep the secret "no matter what." Put a condition on it. Say something like, "As long as it doesn't involve hurting yourself or others or anything illegal," or, "I really can't promise that without knowing more." I learned this way back when being taught how to counsel students who might come in with social or psychological issues...you had to gain their confidence, but without making promises you couldn't keep, such as promising you would keep the entire session confidential and then learning they were thinking about suicide, which couldn't be kept confidential (we wouldn't be broadcasting on the news, but I would have to report it to someone better qualified to get them the help they needed, including possibly calling the police if they were really a threat to themselves or others).
Again, even with the additional information about the scenario, the problem is still bad management. The manager does not need to tell Sally that Bill is going to get fired just to get Sally to learn more of Bill's job before he leaves. Instead, the manager could tell Sally something like they need to have people who can cover for various jobs in case someone is sick or leaves, so she should start learning some of Bill's job. Actually, telling Sally that she needs to learn the job to be her friend's replacement when her friend is laid off only makes it sound worse! With that being the reason for disclosing the information, I might be inclined to send out my own resume and choose the "or you can leave the company" option.
Exactly, this company that made this video completely failed because they did not present what is appropriate business behavior. If you have a group of neophytes, you have to give them some baseline of what is proper conduct. You and I would know that this "secret" business is improper right off the bat, but someone new to business wouldn't know.
 

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