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Walked out for taking future employment with a competitor California

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  • Walked out for taking future employment with a competitor California

    I am in California and up until today I had a job with a company that was merged with a larger corporation overseas and had a planned shutdown sometime this year (unknown date sometime in 2011). The memo telling us that we are shutting down also notified us of quarterly layoffs and got a lot of us looking for future employment (naturally right???).

    I found employment with the competition and was given the opportunity to begin there whenever I am ready. I decided that, since my employer needed my services "until the shutdown," that I would stay on and help with this. Knowing I have a potential conflict of interest and that I had some expensive training coming up I decided to do as the handbook advices and discuss the relationship with my manager. I did not want to get the training without my employer knowing of my relationship with a competitor company. Upon discussing it I was asked to collect my stuff and "walk out the door."

    My questions are these:
    I was not quitting or resigning, though my employer repeatedly tried to get me to say that I was (why?), so am I being fired, terminated, discharged, what? will this look bad for future employment opportunities? I did not want to quit or resign because then I could not collect unemployment while between jobs.

    I was walked out without seeing HR or signing anything. What gives? I am supposed to call in the morning. What are my rights?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    More info:

    Before entering into the relationships with the competitor I asked to see my personnel file at work and made copies of my "confidentiality agreement" to make sure that I was not breaking any covenants that I might have made with the company upon signing on for employment when I was hired. I am in no way in breach of the agreement, but I can however, see why I have been walked out the door. The company overseas recently tried to get me to sign a new confidentiality agreement along with some pay raises and retention bonuses to stay with them until closing. This new agreement was far more strict and forbade future employment with competition at risk of injunction on that employment and they could get paid damages...etc. I chose not to sign my life away and now two weeks later I am here getting walked out the door, but am not in breach of our handbook policies or any agreements that I have with them.

    Just background info... Thanks for any help that comes!

    Comment


    • #3
      I see no illegal termination here. You can be terminated for potential conflict
      of interest/signing on with the competition while still working for your current employer or *any reason* except a reason prohibited by law (ie age, religion, gender...) or unless you had a binding employment contract to the contrary.

      Ir seems you were terminated since you were told to get your stuff & leave.

      You need to go ahead & apply for unemployment ins. The state will decide if you get it.

      I don't know what you are to call about in the morning.

      Did you get your final paycheck?


      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment

      http://employeeissues.com/wrongful_termination.htm
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

      Comment


      • #4
        You have the right to apply for UI until the new job starts. It is not illegal or even uncommon for an employee who is leaving to go to a competitor to be "walked out" - it's a matter of competing loyalties. A very good argument could be made that you quit, though; you just didn't get the last day you anticipated.

        Nothing in the law says you have to see HR or sign anything when you leave. That is up to the individual company's policies.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

        Comment


        • #5
          Always apply for UI, the state will decide if you get it or not. (not the employer
          though they can contest) If you are denied, you can appeal. Good luck.

          Though it seems like you were terminated since you were told to get your things & leave, I can
          also see, as cbg noted, an argument from the employer that you quit.
          Last edited by Betty3; 01-05-2011, 07:11 AM.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            My boss kept trying to get me to say that I was quitting and even said he doesn't know why I wont do so. He said that if I quit then I will have UI to rely on in between jobs. I made it very clear that I was not resigning. I even followed up with our meeting with an email to my boss, my boss' boss, and HR stating clearly that my intention was to notify them of the conflict of interest and that I was NOT resigning.

            I dont think there is any argument that I was not resigning.

            Also, I got an email last night from my boss' boss stating that I should be able to get UI. Sounds like things are good.

            Still I am wondering will this look bad for future employment opportunities?

            Comment


            • #7
              The state will decide if you get UI - it doesn't matter what your boss/employer says.

              Re future employment, no one can say how a prospective employer will look
              at this but I doubt it will keep you from getting other employment at some point.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

              Comment


              • #8
                No, being walked out because you went to work for a competitor will not look bad for future employment.

                I do not agree with you that there is "no argument that you were not resigning".
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I told my employer that I have a conflict of interest I also told him, that since they want to keep me at work to help out, that I have worked out a flexible start date with the new employer and can stay around until they no longer need me. He told me I was resigning, and I stated very clearly that I was not.

                  I followed this up with an email to HR stating that I was not resigning. I dont understand why you dont agree with me that I am not resigning. Our handbook states that we should discuss a potential conflict of interest with our manager or HR. I did this, and at the same time stated clearly that I am not resigning and plan to stay working until no longer needed.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by westyjoker View Post
                    ... and at the same time stated clearly that I am not resigning and plan to stay working until no longer needed.
                    Yes but, legally this is a "so what". Under employment at will, your employer can still legally terminate you.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will
                    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dont understand why you dont agree with me that I am not resigning.

                      Because if YOU had not taken the initiative and taken a job with the competition, you would still be employed with the former employer. I understand that there were layoffs in the future but YOU decided to look for other work prior to the end. Nothing wrong with that; it's quite understandable. But the fact remains that the only thing the employer determined was your last day of work. YOU took the other job. The fact that the employer chose a different last day than you wanted does not change the fact that the initiative was at your end.

                      I completely understand your position. It's even possible that the UI commission will see it your way. But it is not even remotely as clearcut as you are trying to make it. What I am trying to do is show you the other side of the coin, since evidently you don't even realize it's there, so that you are not blindsided in the event that the UI commission goes with the employer.
                      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Try looking at things from another viewpoint.

                        You are an employer, who has many employees, and deals in a competitive business. You have one employee that has accepted a job with the competition, but has not started yet. (or so he says.)

                        Do you take a chance that the soon to be ex employee will not start collecting proprietary information, or sabotage your system? No, you let him go now.

                        This is standard business practices, and taught in every MBA class.

                        The boss is covering his assets. Nothing personal, just business.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I understand your frustaration as an employee you were being honest with the employer by following their policy, by what I have read If it is the employer choice to let you go early based on a conflict of interest they must provide you immediately with your final check(s) in CA if there was no breach of contract between you and the employer, it was their choice to end the employer/employee agreement with you. I would ask HR on what grounds were I released, you might want to contact your local DOL and see if you can file for wrongful termination claim? And make sure you do file UI it is most likely you will not be denied Good Luck
                          COLOR=Navy]Peterpam[/COLOR]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            peterpam, where do you see a wrongful termination here?

                            Plus, although UI might be approved, it would be only for the period between the last day of work at employer A until the first day of work at employer B, less the one week waiting period. And the state would look to the employee to mitigate his damages by contacting employer B and trying to move up his start date.
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Peterpam, are you sure you understand what a wrongful termination is?
                              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                              Comment

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