There is a rule in the developed labor market that you as an employee, you should not under any circumstances compete with your employer. This means as an employee you should not offer services related to employment outside the workplace, or start your own company that competes with the employer. All the rules regarding unethical competition can be clearly written in an employment contract, but it can also be implied and form part of the rules of conduct that an employee should know and respect.
As an employee of a company or business, you always run the risk of action being taken against you if you are involved in any form of conducting unethical business, in the worst case this may result in a dismissal or legal process that may end with a claim from the company.
It is equally important that you who work with recruitment and similar tasks at a company know all the rules and regulations and policies regarding this, especially if you are directly responsible for employment and contract issues. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can protect yourself from problematic employees, unauthorized competition and other worrying incidents. We offer training and strategies for both staff and company management, as well as investigative alternatives, where there is a suspicion that an employee is not performing his part of the signed agreement.
COUNTERACTING OF UNETHICAL COMPETITION AND BREACH OF CONTRACT
In many companies, it is clearly stated in a contract that the employee may not engage in competing activities, sometimes the agreement may also state that the employee may not work in the same industry for a period or hold the same type of contract work. The purpose is to prevent the theft of customers and corporate secrets.
The information that an employee has access to is often sensitive and highly private, which is why the company ensures that it receives proper protection in the form of a comprehensive contract and then also monitors that it is followed. With the help of our expertise, future problems can be prevented thanks to careful preparation, but we can also help when there is a suspicion of breach of contract and when an employee or former employee does not follow the rules and laws that apply.
We work with businesses that suspect that some of their staff, or former staff, either work for a competing business or conduct a business in which the company’s customers and classified information are used. This also applies to non-profit services that can be performed alongside the work if the service is similar to the employee’s duties at the company where he or she is employed.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO START A COMPETITIVE BUSINESS AFTER EMPLOYMENT?
As a rule, the duty of loyalty ceases when the employment is terminated, but the details of this depend on what the original contract looks like, what has been determined and agreed upon. For a company, it can be extremely difficult to control individuals who are no longer employed, so it is good to be aware of the alternatives that exist even before you start hiring employees.
If the company handles extra sensitive information, for example, a more detailed contract can be written, which extends beyond the time of the employment. This contract can then regulate what applies if the individual chooses to quit or get fired. The contract usually contains a supplement in the form of a non-compete clause.
If a company does not protect itself with a non-compete clause, in practice it means that it is free for the former employees to start similar companies and to use the knowledge and methods that the employee learned in his previous workplace. This is where our knowledge becomes useful for a company, we can provide important information on how to best protect against various types of infringement and unfair competition.
We work both preventively and with current cases, the goal then is to limit the damage caused by a case of unethical competition. When a company calls us, we take the time needed to fully understand the existing problem, so as to be able to develop an appropriate action plan. The following are examples of situations where we can be helpful, as well as the services we provide:
- Forensic investigation. If you have a suspicion that a current or former employee is guilty of unethical competition, we can check the digital devices used by the person during working hours. By sending in work phones, computers or any other digital device used, we can recover lost data and check the information that is preserved.
- Training. By training yourself as a business owner, but also by assisting your staff with training on loyalty and competition rules and regulations, you can reduce the risk of misunderstanding and unintentional unethical competition. You can also reduce the risk of unethical competition such as knowing about any legal consequences can have a deterrent effect.
- Investigation and getting evidence. If there is suspicion or knowledge that an employee (or former employee) is conducting an activity using similar techniques, trademarks, services or products, we can assist with the investigation and collection of evidence, which can then be used in a lawsuit or other legal action.
- Advising. We can guide you in the process that follows an investigation and evidence gathering and help you see how you can handle a situation where an employee or former employee has gone too far and possibly violated a contract or other loyalty agreements.
Unhealthy competition has become an increasing problem in today’s society. Employers are constantly pushing for the regulations to obtain unfair benefits for their business, which entails major disadvantages for other companies that follow the regulations. It is often a matter of companies constantly breaking the rules and making this a component of their business. It can also be that a company breaks the rules to win a contract or a procurement – this is to be seen as unfair competition.
We work with companies that suspect their competitors are not following the rules or otherwise behaving dishonestly. We do an information gathering – if the staff are paid according to an agreement if the working hours comply with laws and agreements if the staff has access to the protective equipment required by law. We also perform physical surveillance and hidden camera surveillance.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Contact us for more information. We offer a free consultation to see what solutions are available for your particular situation.