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Author: moggiemac One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 49430  
Subject: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 1:38 PM
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Hey Fools,

I need help with an ethical dilemma that I am facing. Some background info...

I am an employee of a consulting company. I've been with them for 5 years and I really like the company and the people I work with. It's a fun and supportive environment, with really top-notch employees. When I was hired I signed a non solicit & a non-hire agreement to not accept a job offer with any client that I had done work for in the past year...

My DH just got laid off from his job and has decided to take some time to upgrade his skill set before looking for work. Which I fully support, but that decision comes with some financial pressures for us as a family.

Two years ago we moved to a town about 60k away from my current offices resulting in a commute that is a minimum of an hour one way and can be two hours or more if there are accidents or bad weather.

The issue is that I was just offered a job by my current client, who have made the offer in the past. The new job is 5 minutes away from my house and comes with an 11k raise as well as a 10-15% annual bonus. Between the savings on gas (300+ a month), the raise and the two plus hours a day in my life back I am really tempted to take the job. On the negative side, the job would be less challenging than my current one and I would inevitably get sucked in to internal politics, which I hate.

So here is my question, should I stay or should I go? From a career perspective I should not, from a life perspective I should.

Please weigh in with your opinions to help me make up my mind...
moggie
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Author: ToddTruby Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48976 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 3:12 PM
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Other than honoring the agreement, is there any penalty for breaking the non-compete?

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Author: MetroChick Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48977 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 4:34 PM
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Not only will you possibly be sued, but the client possibly will too - which could mean they recind the offer before you even start, thus leaving you out in the cold.

You're not the only one who has signed the non-solicit agreement, I would bet the client has too when they contracted with your consulting company. I work for a small consulting company myself, and that's standard practice.

If you want to new job, than search for one that is not a client of your current company.

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Author: legalwordwarrior Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48978 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 5:52 PM
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When I was hired I signed a non solicit & a non-hire agreement to not accept a job offer with any client that I had done work for in the past year...

Aside for the convenience factor, it sounds like this job wouldn't really be offering much by way of career advancement. It could also become a blemish if a later employer discoveres that you alrady broke one non-solicit and non-hire agreement.

While I think you should probably consider finding a job closer to home, or in the alternative, moving closer to the job, I don't think you should break your word to the company you work for. Integrity in the workplace is important.

LWW

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Author: moggiemac One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48979 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 5:54 PM
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Hi MetroChick,

The client checked their contract with my company and there is no non-solicit on thier side.

My company could sue me with out a doubt, but one of the things that the client is talking about is giving my company all of their future contract work and a 15k bonus for hiring a head hunter to replace me...

It's pretty gratifying and I guess I am worried that part of me wants to go because I am flattered by the lengths that the client will go to to hire me.

As far as I know there has only been one instance in the past where one of our guys approached the owner with another job offer (that was more of an extorsion attempt from what I heard). They didn't sue the guy they just told him to take the other offer and get out.

I don't want to burn bridges with my current company, but realistically I know that if I take this job I will.

I guess I want some fantastic solution that will allow me to leave my current company on good terms and take this new job...

Even as I write that it sounds dumb... SIGH

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Author: JonathanRoth Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48980 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 8:17 PM
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Depends upon local law and your position. In CA by state law non-compete clauses below the executive level is pretty much irrelevant. My current employer basically says if you leave to work for a client they'll hate you forever, that's about all they can do in CA. You may wish to contact a local labor lawyer to learn about your alternatives.

It also depends upon your ability to get references from a superior who BTW doesn't currently have to be with the company. When does the 1 year end? Is the new company willing to wait? How many companies are there in your field in your local area? How well intertwined are the people in your area and in your industry, i.e. will word get around?

Personally, I think these are the key points:

From a career perspective I should not, from a life perspective I should.

the job would be less challenging than my current one and I would inevitably get sucked in to internal politics, which I hate.


How important is it to you to not hate going to work?

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48981 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/26/2012 10:46 PM
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To me this is very simple. You need to inform your client that you have to take this offer to your contract employer. Give them a chance to contact the employer first. Then you need to contact your employer and notify them of the unsolicited offer, tell them that you told the client they had to go through your employer first, and ask the employer if they would be willing to work out a deal that would benefit you and them.

The employer most likely has a clause in their contract with the client that provides for compensation to the employer should a client want to hire a contractor directly. Most employers will negotiate such a transaction because if they say no, it can be uncomfortable keeping a contractor with that client and they certainly don't want the client dropping the contractor all together.

Fuskie
Who expects that once you are a direct employ, the client will have more interesting work for you to do and frankly corporate politics is the price you pay for job security...

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Author: dccats5 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48983 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/27/2012 10:25 AM
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As another poster said, the enforce-ability of a non-compete depends on your state (province?). In general, the more broadly a non-compete is written, the more difficult it is to enforce.

From an enforce-ability standpoint one possible work around would be to take a job with the new company that is completely unrelated to the work you do for the consulting company. My company has done that in the past. For example, we may hire an accountant who has a non-compete and put them in the audit group for a year. Since the work is not the same, the agreements usually don't come into play.

This still, of course, leaves you with the internal and ethical dilemma. Nor does it account for the fact that it doesn't necessarily sound like a job that you would love to take (the notion of loving your job is probably over rated, but it helps).

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Author: alstroemeria Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48984 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/27/2012 11:09 AM
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I have nothing to add to previous comments on the ethical dilemma, but I have had a job I loved with a long commute in heavy traffic that I hated. I moved closer to work, which made a big difference in my health and happiness.

With jobs hard to land and vanishing as quickly as they do these days, it's not easy to stay in the same house/apartment and maintain a decent commute when you change gigs--or your company itself relocates. Multiply by two with working spouses.

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Author: MetroChick Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48985 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/28/2012 10:17 AM
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Another angle is, since it sounds like you like your current company but the main issue is the commute and the lure of increased salary, why not open up a discussion with your current employer to see if you could telework from home a couple days a week and discuss compensation (at the very least for your next annual review) since it might be that "market" rate has increased in the area for your skills? IMO this is the perfect time to open a discussion with whom ever is the decision maker you report to to say "I've been approached by another company (you don't even had to say it's with a client) with a position, and I really like working here but the 2 areas that even have me considering the position are.....".

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Author: JonathanRoth Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48986 of 49430
Subject: Re: Ethical Question Date: 9/28/2012 12:31 PM
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A former boss of mine would never counter a offer when the employee had initiated the contact, his opinion was that there will always be someone willing to pay more for services.

He would counter when the offer was not solicited by the employee, especially if the employee's attitude was, I'd like to stay, however, ... He knew he had to pay market rates for staff, and what better way to establish market rates.

Depending upon your company's attitude, stating that you were approached (without identifying the other company or the offer) and you would like your value to the company reappraised may be the way to go.

When I was in this position, I identified the company and not their offer and made it clear I wanted to stay, but I needed to be paid appropriately. I also stated that I believed I was more valuable to my current company. The reason I would not reveal the offer amount was:

1) I wasn't looking for a counter offer or match, I wanted to be paid for my value. If I was perceived as more valuable at my current company, my pay should reflect it. If I was perceived as more valuable at the other company, their offer would reflect it.

2) I didn't want any perception of a bidding war.

My current company offered 5% more than the other company. After agreeing to stay at the new rate I did show the offer letter to prove it was real.

You have a responsibility to care for your family, withing ethical boundaries, it supersedes your responsibilities towards your employers. Just as the managers responsibilities to the company supersedes their responsibilities to you.

Generally speaking, for line level or junior managers non-compete and no-hire agreements are deemed to stifle competition. Which is why they are unenforceable in some states.

Jack

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