Can you bar an employee from working for a competitor?

With his son entering college and saddled with expensive dental work for his daughter, Instrument Repairman Grade I George Klein was strapped for funds. With this thought in mind, he found a second off-hours job with a competitor.

04/01/1999


With his son entering college and saddled with expensive dental work for his daughter, Instrument Repairman Grade I George Klein was strapped for funds. With this thought in mind, he found a second off-hours job with a competitor.

Things were beginning to look up when his boss, Maintenance Foreman Mike Skolnik, found out about the extra work.

"Sorry, George, I'm going to have to ask you to give it up."

"You gotta be kidding," Klein protested. "I need the extra dough."

"I have no choice. We can't have employees working for our competitors for obvious reasons."

"What obvious reasons?"

"Whether you intend to or not, you could divulge information damaging to the company about trade secrets, new designs, sales figures, job procedures."

"I would never do that."

"I know you wouldn't -- intentionally. But you have ears, right? And a mouth? In any case, a rule is a rule."

"It's a rule I knew nothing about."

"You know about it now. You have to choose between your part time job or this one."

"You know I can't quit this job."

Skolnik shrugged. "There's nothing I can do about it."

Klein refused to settle for that. He took off and returned minutes later with the shop steward in tow.

"You can't announce a rule like that without consulting the union."

When Skolnik disagreed, the steward threatened a grievance.

Question: Can management make the restriction stick?

Expert's opinion: When Skolnik told Plant Engineer Ben Grogan about the situation, Grogan picked up the telephone to get Alice Sheerer's opinion.

"Arbitrators don't always see eye to eye in situations like this," the attorney said. "I've seen cases where the company was permitted to prohibit off-hours work for a competitor, but the union had the right to challenge its reasonableness. In doing his job, would Klein be exposed to information damaging to the company, or be in a position to reveal company secrets?"

"Definitely," Grogan replied. "Especially when doing work in the lab."

"In that case," Sheerer said, "I would advise sticking to your guns and disallowing the extra work."





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Additive manufacturing advancements; Machine vision enhances robotics; Fieldbus evolution; Process safety; Advice from System Integrators of the Year; Road to IANA
Salary and career survey: Benchmarks and advice; Designing controls; Remote data collection, historians; Control valve advances; Hannover Messe; Control Engineering International
System integration: Best practices and technologies to help; Virtualization virtues; Cyber security advice; Motor system efficiency, savings; Product exclusives; Road to Hannover
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
click me